THIS little work is sent forth to the Christian world in the profound conviction that, apart from the Holy Word acknowledged as a direct revelation from God, and hence as carrying with it Divine authority over the faith, consciences and lives of men, all true religion, and supremely the Christian religion, must sooner or later perish from the earth, and that then nothing can avert, first, the spiritual and moral corruption, and then the disintegration, of human society; and, moreover, that the only possibility of the rational, and hence permanent acceptance of the Sacred Scriptures as thus unequivocally Divine, lies in the widespread dissemination of the doctrine regarding their real nature set forth in its pages. It is, therefore, commended to the candid and earnest attention of all to whom the Word of God is precious, and who recognize the exceeding gravity of the present Biblical situation in Christendom; as, also, of that large and increasing number of thinking men and women who, while finding themselves compelled to admit that the Divinity of the Scriptures cannot be maintained on the basis of their literal inerrancy, are nevertheless willing to be convinced, if the means of being so are brought within their reach.

Kensington, London, W.
Jan. 1920.

CHAP.                                                                                    PAGE
1. THE PRESENT BIBLICATION SITUATION                                          3

4. DO OUR SCRIPTURES POSSESS IT?                                                 53

5. THE POINT OF VIEW FUNDAMENTALLY ALTERED                            69

AND AS DOCTRINE                                                               76
7       THE LETTER, OR OUTER FORM                                                 93
8. THE SPIRIT, OR INNER MEANING                                          121

9. HOW THE SPIRITUAL SENSE IS ARRIVED AT                                   141
10. THE SPIRITUAL SENSE DISCLOSED                                          152

IN GENESIS                                                                      168

13. CORRESPONDENCES AND REPRESENTATIVES                            211

SCRIPTURES                                                                      241


OF THE WORD                                                                             289



1.The Present Biblical Situation

IT is well known to every one who has followed the movements of Biblical scholarship and opinion during the last forty years, that present-day Christendom is divided into two camps in respect of the view taken of the Sacred Scriptures. On the one hand, there is the so-called traditional or conservative view, in which the Scriptures are the true and very Word of GOD, in the sense of having God for their Author just as surely and unequivocally as (say) Paradise Lost had John Milton for its author. In this view, the words used and the statements made are GODS and not mansnot even the mens who wrote them down in the various Books of which it consistsand come to men with a Divine and not a human authority. On the other hand is the advanced or modern view, the product of the movement known as the Higher Criticism, in which the Bible Is not of Gods Authorship in any sense which would make God responsible for its contents, or, consequently, confer upon those contents Divine authority, but of mansspecifically, that of the men, whoever they may have been (which is a matter of no moment for the purpose of the argument)who wrote its constituent books.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 3 In this view, therefore, what we have in the Scriptures is not a Divine Revelation, carrying with it Divine authority; but only a record of such revelation respecting God as may have been vouchsafed to mankind in a more or less remote antiquityor, more precisely, to the elect minds of a particular nation which is imagined to have been gifted with a special genius for religion, as was the Greek nation with a special genius for beauty and art. Critically regarded, the ascription under the modern theory of the views respecting God contained in the Bible to revelation, is either a begging of the question, or a mere concession to popular or, possibly, personal sentiment; there is, certainly, no evidence to show how, or whence, the opinions of the Biblical writers concerning God reached themonly that they had them. The actual position is, therefore, that, in the modern view, the Sacred Scriptures are not a revelation by God, but merely a record of the beliefs entertained by certain Jews, mostly unknownaccording to the criticssome thousands of years ago, about God. As it has been expressed by a prominent exponent of this view:

The Bible represents, for the most part, what earnest men belonging to a particular nationality of a bygone age thought about life in relation to God.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 4 The fact that the best part of it was written by good and serious men does not necessarily give binding authority to the opinions of these men (Rev. R. J. Campbell in The New Theology, pp. 181-2).

To such an attitude, it is evidently idle to look to the Bible for instruction as to what is to be believed: it can only tell us what certain unknown men in a remote past have believed; but whether they were right or wrong in so believing there is nothing authoritative to show! The modern view, in a word, destroys the Bible as a source of religious instruction for mankind today. This fact explains how it comes about that the outspoken advocate from whom the above quotation is taken found himself able to say: Never mind what the Bible says about this or that, if you are in search of the truth; but trust the voice of God within you. The bible will help you in your quest, just as any good man might be able to help you; but you must judge, test and weigh the various statements it contains just as you would judge, test and weigh the opinions of the best friend you ever had.1 It also enables us to understand how it comes to pass that, whereas, on the one hand, the Bible is revered as a truly Divine book, carrying a Divine authority, and constituting, therefore, the final court of appeal in all matters of faith and doctrine, this very attitude towards it, is, on the other hand, scorned and derided as Bibliotatry,2 a word obviously coined for the purpose of placing such a way of regarding it in the same category as Mariolatry and idolatry, and thereby branding it as a pitiful and degrading superstition.

1 The Rev. R. J. Campbell in The New Theology.

2 This term has been used to the effect mentioned in The Christina Word newspaperwhich is, we believe, to be credited with its coinageany time this thirty or forty years.



Our purpose, however, is not to denounce the modern view of the Scriptures, still less to defend the traditional one: it is simply to arrive at and depict the real character of both; and this, we believe, any well-informed, competent and impartial judge will admit is what we have here done for the modern view.

Of the actual existence of these two conflicting views on this most momentous subject, the following, which comes from a very moderate source, bears witness:

In the late General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland, one of the ablest, most scholarly and most devout of the younger ministers of that Church, in a debate on The Revision of the Confession of Faith, said: The infallibility of the Scriptures is not a mere verbal inerrancy or historical accuracy, but an infallibility of power to save. The Word of God infallibly carries with it Gods power to save mens souls. If a man submit his heart and mind to the Spirit of God speaking in it, he will infallibly be a new creature in Christ Jesus. This is the only kind of infallibility I believe in. For a mere verbal inerrancy I care not one straw.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 6 It is worth nothing to me; it would be worth nothing if it were there, and it is not."

In the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of America, held about the same time, the report submitted on "Revision of the Confession" contained a proposal to add to the Confessional statement on the evidences that 'the .Bible is the Word of God, a clause including among these evidences, "the truthfulness of the history, and the faithful witness of prophecy and miracle." That is to say, the American Committee of Revision appear to hold the historical accuracy--on which Mr. Denney, in the Free Church Assembly, set so little value--to be one of the marks. of the Bible being a Divine Book, the absence of which would be fatal to its claims ,to be the Word of God. Here, surely, is a great cleavage in opinion--a chasm between two theological schools [of thought] on a subject of vital importance which it were very desirable to have bridged over! It will serve no purpose to deny the cleavage, or to invent ambiguous formulae to conceal it. The only thing needful is that each side in the controversy state its position as distinctly as possible, and do its very best to make good; its case, and let the conscience of the Church, enlightened by discussion, decide on which side truth lies (Rev. A. B. Bruce, D.D., in the Introduction to Inspiration and Inerrancy, pp. 4-5)

This was written eight-and-twenty years ago; and since then the controversy has been waged in the manner, recommended; with the result, notorious to all who, take note of such matters, that the advanced, or modern view, in more or less pronounced formin some quarters more, in some less--now almost exclusively, among the more scholarly and intelligent of both clergy and laity in all the Protestant denominations, holds the field.



Nor, in view of the nature of the issue, and of the ground on which the dispute has been rested by both parties, could it be otherwise. This ground is, that actual Divine Authorship must of necessity carry with it absolute freedom from error, and indeed freedom from fault or blemish of any kind, in What it produces; or, to put it slightly otherwise, the infallibility--or, to use the modern term, "inerrancy"--in every detail, of the writing, or collection of writings, of which such authorship is predicated.

This position, as has been said, is accepted by both sides in the controversy; but it will not be amiss to have this fact before us in the very words of representatives of the respective schools of thought concerned. The following is taken from an article which appeared, many years: since, in the pages of The Presbyterian Review, an American denominational publication, as a sort of manifesto of the "conservative" party in the controversy:

During the entire history of Christian theology, the word Inspiration has been used to express either some or all of the activities of God cooperating with its human authors in the genesis of Holy Scripture. We prefer to use it in the single sense of God's continued work of superintendence by which--His providential, gracious and supernatural contributions having been proposed


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 8 He presided over the sacred writers with the design and effect of rendering that writing an errorless record of the matters He designed them to communicate, and hence constituting the entire volume, in all its parts, the Word of God to us.... The historical faith of the Church has always been that all the affirmations of Scripture of all kinds, whether of spiritual doctrine, or duty, or of physical or historical fact, or 'of psychological or philosophical principle, are without any error, when the ipsissima verba of the original autographs are ascertained and interpreted in their natural and intended sense. (Quoted in Inspiration and Inerrancy, pp. 9-10, 113. N.B.--The italics are ours.)

The following more cautious statement from a moderate exponent of the opposite, or "modern" view, amounts to precisely the same thing as regards the point in which we are here interested:

Viewing the matter abstractly, it is difficult to understand how, if God be really the Author of the Bible in the same sense in which Milton was the author of Paradise Lost, He should not write in perfect style, and with perfect accuracy in all statements of fact, and in perfect accordance with the ideal standard in morals and religion. He is surely the most consummate Artist; He knows everything; He is absolutely Holy. How can He, possibly embody His thought in inferior Greek? How can He possibly make a mistake? How can He have anything to do with crude morality or a defective religious tone? (ibid., p. 34)



We have remarked above, that, on the ground common to both parties as to what constitutes the characteristic mark of bona fide Divine authorship, it could not be otherwise than that a waging of the controversy d loutrance must result in the victory, in substance at all events, of the modern or advanced view.

That this is what drives thoughtful and candid men out of the old into the "modern" view, is clear from the following passage in a recently published work, Divine Inspiration (New York, 1915), by Dr. George Preston Mains, who says:

It is only after the most microscopic, thorough and exhaustive study of all available sources, on historic, literary and grammatical grounds, that Christian scholarship has been forced to abandon the hypothesis of Scriptural inerrancy (p. 109).

For, the plain, undeniable truth, which those who frankly and honestly face the facts are bound sooner or later to discover, is, that such perfection or inerrancy of statement in the Scriptures as is held to be necessary to establish their Divine authorship, cannot be maintained--that is to say, it does not exist.

It is necessary to our purpose to show convincingly the incontestable truth of this assertion, which, accordingly, we now proceed to do. We do not propose to labor the point, or to follow it up in all the possible categories to which the statements of Scripture might be reduced; but merely to set it forth in a sufficient number of instances to place the fact beyond dispute. We adduce six.



(1)In the 1st and 2nd chapters of Genesis are contained what, on a careful examination of them, taken at their face value, prove to be two accounts of the creation of the universe, but starting from different points--the earlier from chaos, the later from an already existing globe (and, it would seem, heavenly bodies), destitute, however, of vegetable, animal and human life. The earlier account is very specific indeed as to THE ORDER in which the various constituents of the universe came into existence: the later, though not emphasizing, nevertheless gives, an equally unmistakable order from the point from which it sets out--the as yet untenanted globe. But the order, from this point, is totally and irreconcilably divergent in the two relations; as witness the following parallel--in which, for convenience of arrangement and comparison, we put the second account in the first column:

Chap. ii.                                                 Chap. i.
1. The earth              vv. 4-6              The earth                     v. 10
2. Man (male only)        v. 7                     Vegetation                     vv. 11-12
3. Vegetation              vv. 8-9              Sun, Moon and Stars              v. 16
4. Land animals and                             Fish and Birds              v. 21

Birds                     v.19
5. Woman                     v. 22                     Land animals and               vv. 25, 27

                                          Man (male and Female)

The point calling for attention is, that, if either of these orders is correct, the other becomes thereby incorrect; for no amount of ingenuity can possibly establish agreement between the two, and so make both correct. One account, therefore, must necessarily be erroneous: which is so, is totally immaterial to tie issue.



(2) In the 23rd chapter of Numbers, at the 19th verse, it is declared: "God is not a man that He should lie, neither the son of man that He should repent: hath He said and shall He not do? or, hath He spoken and shall He not make it good?" Yet it is repeatedly related that God did "repent" of this and that specific thing which He had done, purposed and even explicitly threatened (e.g. Gen. vi.. 6; Ex. xxxii. 14; Jer. xxvi. 19). It clearly cannot be true both that God did "repent" on certain specific occasions, and that He does not repent because He is God, and, being God, is perfect and unchangeable, in sharp contrast with infirm and changeable man.

(3) Again, it is explicitly declared that "God did tempt Abraham" (Gen. xxii. 1); whereas the truth, which both reason and conscience at once endorse, is, that God never tempts "any man; but a man is tempted when he is carried away of his own lusts and enticed" (Jas. i. 13).

(4) Other instances of irreconcilable discrepancy are those of the words spoken by the voices out of heaven at the Baptism of Jesus and at His Transfiguration, and the terms of Pilate's inscription on the Cross. Taking these in their order, we find the words spoken at the Baptism recorded in all the Synoptics;, but differently in each Gospel. Thus:

Matthew (iii. 17),       Mark (i. 11).              Luke (iii. 22).
THIS1 is My beloved        THOU ART My be-                      THOU ART My be-
Son, in whom I am              loved Son, in WHOM              loved Son, in THEE
well pleased              I am well pleased.              I am well pleased.

1 We print the varying words in SMALL CAPITALS to facilitate comparison.



Out of the three reports, all evidently purporting to give the very words used by the heavenly voice, no two, it will be seen, agree. Hence, as a matter of fact, it is impossible that all can be correct. It is impossible that even two can be correct: and it is equally impossible to know whether even one is correct, or, if so, which one it is! The only thing that is certain, is that two of these three statements regarding the same point must be erroneous.

(5) The words spoken at the Transfiguration are also reported in all the Synoptics; as follow

Matthew (xvii. 5).       Mark (ix. 7).              Luke (ix. 35).
This is My beloved               This is My beloved       This is My beloved
Son IN WHOM I                     Son: hear ye Him.              Son: hear ye Him.
AM WELL PLEASED:                     (R.V.)
hear ye Him.

In this case, the question is whether the words "in whom I am well pleased," were or were not spoken. If we go by the number of witnesses, we are bound to conclude that they were not, and therefore that the record in Matthew, in giving them, is wrong; and no question as to the relative reliability of the witnesses can be involved, inasmuch as, ex hypothesi, all three statements are of the same Authorship--that of God Himself--and must hence be of equal reliability.

(6) Lastly, the words of the inscription affixed by Pilate to the Cross are given in all four Gospels; and to the following effect

Matthew               Mark                      Luke                      John
(xxvii. 37).       (xv. 26).              (xxiii. 38).       (xix. 19).
THIS is JESUS        The King of the        THIS is the King        JESUS of NAZ-
the King of              Jews.                     of the Jews.       ARETH the        
the Jews.                                                        King of the Jews.



Here, even if the consensus of testimony were held to determine what Pilate actually did write, only one of these statements of what he wrote--that in Mark--is correct: all the others are wrong--and, moreover, differently wrong; and it is, and must remain, hopelessly impossible, for all time, for any man to know the truth on the matter. It is inconceivable that such irreconcilably conflicting accounts on a single point of plain historical fact can be the outcome of even a common authorship, except on the assumption-truthfulness and honesty of purpose being conceded--of lapse of memory at the time of making the records. But, with God, lapse of memory is an impossible assumption; and, consequently, a common Divine Authorship for this array of irreconcilable statements on plain matters of fact in their different fields-to say nothing of the far larger number of such statements that might be, and in various quarters are, advanced--cannot possibly be maintained--IF, that is to say, the determining test of Divine Authorship is, as is assumed under both the "traditional" and the modern view, the absolute, literal accuracy, or "inerrancy," of the product of such Authorship.

It has been shown above, and is indeed well known apart from any showing, that it is the generally' accepted canon in Christendom to-day, that infallibility, or inerrancy, in the matters of fact referred to, is a necessary characteristic of Divine Authorship.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 14 It has been also shown that the outcome of this canon, when honestly applied to our Scriptures, is to deprive them of all Divine authority in matters of faith and life, and to leave men without a thus saith the Lord in the world, or, consequently, any sure guide to the living of a spiritual life. For, if the Scripture are simply, in plain language, a record of the opinions which certain unknown members of an obscure and insignificant eastern nation in a remote past entertained about God and mans relations to Him, the truth of which there is absolutely nothing to authenticate, and many of the contents of which are demonstrably inaccurate as they stand, it is manifestly idle to look to it for spiritual guidance. Equally idle is it to refer men to the Spirit of God within themselves; for it is notorious, that, apart from external means of instructionin the present case, apart from the specific external means of instruction afforded by the Christian Scriptures of Old and New Testamentsman gropes and flounders in helpless spiritual darkness. In face of this unquestionable testimony of all history and experience, this appeal to the Sprit of God within, is a mere subterfugenot a dishonest one, of necessity; but a subterfuge nevertheless. Is not the Spirit of God within the devout Hindu, or Mohammedan, or totemist, or other variety of heathen, equally with the Christian? And if so, why do these different varieties of non-Christians remain in their spiritual darkness and destitution until external means of religious instruction are brought within their reach?


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 15 Evidently, because the Spirit of God within, teaches man according to the state of his mind as formed by knowledges learned from without, and in no other way.

On this point, we speak more at large in our next chapter: suffice it, here and now, to submit, nay, to insist, that all the knowledge of spiritual and Divine things which we possess have actually come to us from our Scriptures, and we can know nothing of any worth, on such matters except, either directly or indirectly, from that source. If, therefore, there is no sure authority there, the ground is cut away from beneath man's feet, and they have no foundation upon which to build for eternity; and, "If the FOUNDATIONS be destroyed, what can the righteous do?" (Psa. xi. 3). There is only one reply, viz., they are1left helpless and hopeless, however vociferously and confidently it may be protested to them that they are really better off, spiritually, now they know, as' the most certainly "assured result of modern Biblical criticism," that the Bible is not, a revelation by God and has no "authority" whatever, much less any Divine authority, for the modern mind, than they were when they "searched the Scriptures," believing that "in them they had eternal life," because they were a real Divine revelation to men of those things which were necessary to salvation and-heaven!

And it is because this is perceived to be the case that there has gone up, as is well known, from thousands of devout Christians, an exceedingly bitter cry against these destructive results--the only kind of results that stand to its account--of modern Biblical criticism;


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 16 and such devout souls, as well as mere conservative doctrinarians, have entrenched themselves in a blind, dogged denial of the existence of errors in the Scriptures, and a refusal to look the facts in the face; in sheer fear of losing all spiritual anchorage and making shipwreck of their souls--to the grave detriment of truth and intellectual honesty; and the discredit of religion itself.

Yet, as long as the Divine Authorship of the Scriptures is made to rest upon their literal inerrancy,;as long, that is to say, as the proof of literal inaccuracy in historical and other matters of fact, is held to disprove Divine Authorship, resistance must be in vain. For, "truth"--in every sphere, and hence in that of the accuracy, or otherwise, of the literal statements of the Scriptures is mighty, and will "assuredly prevail," sooner or later.

In the fullest, sympathy with the distress of soul touched upon above, we invite all who experience it, to seriously consider whether the currently accepted mark, and thus test, of Divine Authorship is the true one; or whether the true mark thereof is not quite other than this, and one, moreover, which may avail to save the Divine Authorship of the Sacred Scriptures from the final rejection which assuredly awaits it under the reign of the one now current.



We make bold here to state provisionally, and we hope in the present volume to show convincingly, that this is actually the case; that, namely, the true mark of Divine Authorship in any given document is quite other than literal inerrancy, that under it the Divine Authorship of the Scriptures is not in the smallest degree affected, much less imperiled, by the presence in them of literal inaccuracies of whatever description; and that its intelligent acceptance, invited on what we believe to be the most sure grounds of Scripture and reason, exalts the Holy Scriptures as the very Word of God to men, to an eminence unimagined and unimaginable apart from it.

In leaving this introductory review of "The present Biblical Situation," we would earnestly, invite every one who loves the Sacred Scriptures for their spiritual worth, to a patient and candid consideration of the criterion of Divine Authorship, and the new view--radically different alike from both the "traditional" and the "modern" views--of the nature of the Scriptures, which it is the purpose of the subsequent chapters to unfold, illustrate and establish.












2.---The Subject-matter and Necessity of Divine Revelation.

BEFORE proceeding to set forth the new criterion of Divine Authorship foreshadowed in the closing words of the previous chapter, it is necessary to consider and determine the point indicated in the title of the present one--viz., what the proper, necessary and, in truth, the only rationally possible subject-matter of Divine revelation is. The necessity arises from the fact that the generally received idea regarding it, which also underlies and reinforces the accepted criterion of Divine Authorship, is, as we submit, and hope to show, wholly erroneous.

That idea, as is well known, is, that any and everything touched upon in our Scriptures is, of course, the proper subject-matter of revelation by God; thus, science, philosophy, history, morals, in a word, all kinds of natural and worldly matters-but especially history--as well as spiritual and Divine subjects.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 21 "Do not these things," it would be argued, "form the highly-varied subject-matter of the Bible? And is not the Bible Divine revelation? God can speak to man on any subject He pleases; and any subject He pleases to speak to man about is thereby proved to be a proper subject-matter of Divine revelation." To most believers in revelation--and possibly to most unbelievers as well--the reasoning seems conclusive and unanswerable.

Yet we venture to think differently. It may be well to mention, at the outset, that what we are concerned with, is not any particular concrete revelation, such as, for example, our own Christian Scriptures, but any Divine revelation-Divine revelation as such, or in the abstract. Differently expressed, the meaning is, Granting that God should see fit to impart instruction, or address a message, to man, what are we rationally obliged to expect that the general subject with which His communication should deal, would be?

In approaching the answer to this question, it has to be borne in mind that God' is man's Creator. He, to speak accommodatively, planned man, and endowed him with all the faculties he possesses, purposing, of course, in doing so, that they should be developed and perfected in the highest possible degree. Now, all are aware that we are so constituted that the development and perfecting of all our powers and faculties, whether of body or of mind, is dependent upon their due exercise in their own proper sphere.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 22 This condition of their development is attended by the consequence that, if not exercised, they become atrophied; and, should non-exercise of them become absolute, they must ultimately perish.

Now, one of man's most distinguishing faculties, radically differentiating him from the whole of the rest of creation, is that of Rationality. In giving it him, God certainly intended it to undergo, in man's possession of it, all the improvement of which it is susceptible; and this faculty is such that no limit to its perfectibility can be assigned. Moreover, the perfecting of the man as a whole, is the perfecting of his faculties and powers; and it is nothing else. And that God designed man to become ever more perfect, without limit; that this was His purpose in fashioning man as He has done, no thinking person can for a moment doubt. Hence the Lord's injunction , "Be ye therefore PERFECT, as your Father in the heavens is perfect."

It necessarily follows that God can never, in any of His dealings with man, do anything that would place any obstacle in the way of the health, development and perfecting of, especially, any of his distinguishing human (as discriminated from his animal) powers; among which, as we have noted, his Rationality stands at the very front. In making a revelation, or imparting knowledge, to man, therefore, as much as in God's other dealings with him, this principle must hold good, and must have a determining effect, within its own sphere, upon the nature of the subject-matter of any Divine revelation, or Divine impartation of knowledge to man.



This conclusion at once rules out all such matters as science, philosophy, history, morals and others of similar scope, as the subject-matter of revelation; for the reason that man's own intellectual endowments, brought to bear upon the appropriate natural objects, materials and conditions extant to his senses and observation in the world, are fully competent to the discovery of those things for himself. This is not only the conclusion of sound reason and common sense, but is equally the testimony of experience; for, as a matter of fact, all our natural science, philosophy, history and moral science have been produced in exactly this way, and in no other, and constitute an exceedingly telling proof of the truly marvelous--it is not too much to say, God-like-thing that the human mind is. For God to make such matters the subject of revelation, would, therefore, be superfluous inasmuch as God had, in creating him and the remainder of the natural universe, equipped man with every requisite for the acquiring of such knowledge for himself. Not only so, however; it would be to place a hindrance in the way of the development. and perfecting of the, powers involved, and thus of man himself, in removing the necessity of their use and exercise in the attainment of such knowledge. This argument, of course, assumes that the science, philosophy and morals made the subject of revelation would be full arid complete.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 24 On this assumption the making of a scientific, philosophical, moral, even a historical revelation, strictly so styled, would be, so far, the stultification by God of His own work in creating the human mind capable of working out such things for itself, and finding its well-being, development and advancement in doing so.

Assuming, however, on the other hand, that Revelation should deal with such themes as are in question, not in this complete and comprehensive fashion, but in a partial and fragmentary way, it were necessarily a prime requisite in such a Revelation that its "revelations" about them should be unassailably accurate, in every particular. This is beyond dispute. If the kinds of statements under consideration as being part of any Divine revelation are really intended to be taken in their surface meaning, that is, are actually intended scientifically, philosophically or historically, then, coming from God, they must needs be scientifically, philosophically and historically unchallengeable. Should they not be, the so-called revelation containing them, comes inevitably and at once under suspicion. The point, however, need not be labored; for it is, as seen in the previous chapter, universally granted.

Moreover, God has so made man that, having once come into existence, he will never cease to exist, but go on living for ever. The truth of this, no one who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ can possibly call in question. "Now, that the dead are raised," He said, even Moses showed at the bush, when he
calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 25 For He is not a God of the dead but of the living; for all live unto Him (Luke xx. 37, 38). He was the "God" of the men named, at the time Moses wrote the words cited from Exodus. From man's standpoint, or that of this world, these men were all dead long years, running even to centuries, before. But God is not a God of dead men; only of living. Since He was then their God, they were, therefore, still "living," and had been ever since their "death," though no longer in this world--consequently, in some other. Only those live to us, men, who live in our world--the natural; to spirits and angels, only those count as living who live in their world, and thus are within their ken--the spiritual; but to God, who, differently from men, spirits and angels, is Omniscient in all possible worlds, all who ever have lived, live always, whatever the world in which they may be living at any given moment. The thought underlying the whole of the Lord's argument here, is, that no man who has lived ever ceases to live; or, to put it slightly otherwise, every human being is, by His creation, immortal.

Not less certain is it that no man lives for ever in this world--or, differently expressed, as far as this world is `concerned, all men are mortal. His never-ending existence is the one upon which he enters on leaving this world, which he does at the death of his! material body, by his resurrection when he passes into the world beyond the grave--the spiritual, and,--as it is also called, the "eternal" world.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 26 Man's limited life in the material world is but the briefest prelude' to the unending life which awaits him in the spiritual.

But he character of his unending life in the spiritual world is according to, and it is determined by, the kind of life he has lived in this. The resurrection by which, at the death of the body, men are ushered into the eternal world, is, to them "that have done good" in this life, a "resurrection of life," but to them "that have done evil" here, a "resurrection of damnation" (John v. 29). The inflexible law of the matter, is: "He that," at the time of death, "is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and he that is holy, let him be holy still." And the "resurrection of life" which awaits those alone who "have done good" in their life on earth, is to a life of unspeakable blessedness and happiness, which knows no end. The Divine purpose in the creation of the universe was the formation of an angelic heaven from the human race, and, in the creation of each individual human being, that he should spend his immortal existence in that angelic heaven. To Divine Love, no other purpose, in, this regard, is within the bounds of possibility.

At the same time, since it was Man that was being created, and not a superior animal, the characteristic human qualities, freedom and rationality, not only had to be conferred on him originally, but have to be secured to him perpetually--for, the moment they were taken from him, that moment he would cease to be man;


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 27 and these endowments inevitably carry with them the possibility of man's choosing evil rather than good, and persisting in that perverse and lamentable choice beyond the grave as well as here. Life on earth, therefore, carries with it, for every human soul, the possibility of his final lot being one of what, by contrast with the joy and bliss of heaven, we call "eternal woe."

Of this tremendous fact, however, man could not even know, unless God, who does know, should "reveal" it to him; as must also be the case in reference to the kind of life it is. necessary for him to live here, if he is to attain eternal happiness hereafter. This puts the matter at its lowest. But, when we take account of the, boundless perfectibility accruing to man from his being created not merely "in," but to "the image of God," which is the ultimate ground of the Lord's injunction, addressed to every human soul, "Be ye, therefore, perfect as"--that is, in the same manner, though, of necessity, at an infinite distance in respect of degree--"as your Father in the heavens is perfect," the impossibility of man's ever knowing the Divine Perfections, and consequently of ever being in a position to strive to emulate them, unless God, who alone can know them of Himself, should make them known to him, that is, should reveal them, is even more strikingly manifest.



Granting the positions here advanced, it is obvious that the one thing of importance to every human being is that he should so live his life in this preliminary stage of it, that he may be able to spend its subsequent, unending stage in a state of happiness and well-being. In "the long view," it is the simple truth that, to an immortal creature so conditioned, thus; to man, nothing else than this is of any real importance. It is the one thing, and the only thing, that matters.

This being the case, in the event of God's deciding to address a communication, or impart knowledge, to man, what is the proper, necessary and only rationally possible subject-matter with which a good God who loves man could concern Himself in, such a communication? There is no room for hesitation about the answer. The subject-matter of such a communication by such a God to such a being as man, must necessarily be such knowledge as is requisite to enable him so to use his time, in the initial phase of his career, that the subsequent phase, which will go on for ever, shall be one of the unimaginable
blessedness that it may be. For God to as it were put Himself out of the way to speak to man, much more to teach him; about any other matters than such as these--about, for example, science, or philosophy, or worldly history, or human biography--would be, in the tremendous circumstances involved, nothing less than a frivolous trifling of which it is impossible and inconceivable that a good God could ever be guilty.



The kind of knowledge for which man's situation as an immortal being calls is, clearly, that of his own immortality; of the nature, conditions and possibilities of the life that follows this one; the nature, constitution and laws of his own immortal part; how to live for heaven while living in the world, so that earth may be a preparation for heaven and not for hell; the dangers that beset him, in endeavoring to do this, and how they may be avoided or overcome; and, finally, the nature, qualities, attributes and person of the God in and to whose "image" he has been created, and whose, excellences and perfections he is to endeavor to imitate, and what relations he, the creature, should cultivate towards God, his Creator. All this knowledge he imperatively needs; without it, in its essentials, there is no possibility of his making a success of his life, viewed from the standpoint of his immortality; even with some measure of it, the degree of his success in this respect must be dependent upon and limited by the extent and validity of his knowledge on these and kindred subjects and on his regulating himself thereby. And not one iota of it all is he able to acquire for himself If he is to have it, he must have it by the gift of God; that is, by Divine revelation.

It is hoped that the necessary subject-matter of any genuine Divine revelation, may now be regarded as placed beyond doubt. That knowledge on such themes could come to man from any other source than Divine revelation, and hence that Divine revelation is an indispensable necessity, is scarcely disputable.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 30 For, what faculties has man whereby to procure it, or any of it, for himself? A mere enumeration of the subjects indicated in the foregoing argument--which by no means exhausts the list--is sufficient to establish the unassailableness of this contention. They are the nature, attributes and person of God Himself; man's own immortality and the constitution and laws of the immortal part of him--his "soul"; the life after death, in general, and heaven and hell, in particular; the way to attain the one and avoid the other; the right attitude for him to take up towards God; what things are good and what evil, and what are true and what false. For such knowledge, we all know, the human mind is not sufficient, of itself. It is, truly, capable of apprehending and receiving it all, when imparted; but for finding it out for itself, it lacks the requisite equipment.

And yet men have talked, and do talk, of "Natural Theology" and "Natural Religion"; by which they mean Theology and Religion taught by Nature, or excogitated and built up by man's natural faculties unassisted by Revelation. That atheists and unbelievers should believe that such a thing can be, is intelligible enough; for while not believing that there is any real God at all, they are faced with the fact that Religion and Theology exist. To them these things cannot have been revealed, for there is no God to reveal them; they must, therefore, be the creation of man's natural powers, exercising themselves upon natural phenomena not understood.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 31 The point to note is that "Natural Theology" and "Natural Religion" are not realities--that is, there is no such "Theology" or such "Religion" actually existing-they are merely the endeavors of certain minds to account hypothetically for the existence of Theology and Religion without calling in the aid of Revelation! And truly wonderful--in a pitiful way--these endeavors are as every enlightened mind that knows what they are, must agree.

But there are also believers who seem to imagine that Natural Theology and Natural Religion are real entities, and that they were all that man had to go upon until, many thousands--we must, nowadays, say many millions--of years subsequent to the Creation, it pleased God to make a revelation, and to give man a better and truer Religion and Theology than he had been able !to excogitate, even in all those aeons, for himself. This is truly wonderful when the mind realizes what it involves which is, in a word, that, knowing--because He created man--that man could not work out for himself a true Theology and Religion--on which for him such tremendous issues depend--God left him without these spiritual necessaries all those hundreds of thousands of years, and took no step to supply these deficiencies until some 3,500 years ago at the earliest!

On the face of it, such a notion seems essentially incredible. To us, it certainly is so.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 32 Is not the truer view that, creating man such as he is, God must have furnished him with this indispensable knowledge from the very start of the race, and have so over-ruled things subsequently that no human being should ever be totally destitute of it? Did God not, indeed, in creating such a being as man, place Himself under a moral obligation--in all reverence be it said!--to act in this very way? We commend to the reader the following, from the enlightened Swedenborg, as closely approximating to the self-evident truth on this matter, and as worthy of all acceptation

It is believed in the world that man is able to know from the light of nature, thus without revelation, many things that belong to religion; as, that there is a God, that He is to be worshipped, and also that He is to be loved; likewise that man will live after death, and many other things that depend upon these. But I have been taught by much experience that, of himself, and without revelation, man knows nothing whatever about Divine things, and about the things that relate to spiritual and heavenly life. But two considerations have arisen which bring the mind into doubt upon this subject: first, that the Ancients, who were gentiles, nevertheless knew that there is a Divine, that the Divine is to be worshipped, and that man as to the soul is immortal; second, that these things are known to many nations at this day with whom there is no revelation. But, as regards the Ancients, they did not know these things from the light of their own nature, but from revelation, which had spread from the Church even to them; for the Lord's Church had, been in the land of Canaan from the most ancient times.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 33 Thence such things as related to Divine worship spread to the surrounding nations, and likewise to the neighboring Greeks, and from them to the Romans. From this source, both Greeks and Romans had a knowledge of the Supreme Deity and the immortality of the soul, about which their learned men wrote. As regards the nations at this day with whom there is no revelation, but who, nevertheless, know that there is a Divine and that there is a life after death, neither have these obtained this knowledge from the light of their own nature, but from religion derived to them from remote ancestors,1 which had been founded on such things as had spread to them in various ways from the Church, which had revelation. This was brought about by the Lord's Divine Providence. Moreover, those of them who, from their religion, acknowledge a Divine over all, and practice the duties of charity towards the neighbor from their religion, when instructed in the other life embrace the truths of faith and are saved (Arcana Coelestia, no. 8944)

1 The "nations" here referred to, would appear to be the savage or heathen races of the present day; and the statement that such religions as exist among them have been derived to them from remote ancestors (among whom those religions existed in probably a higher and purer form) is very interestingly paralleled in a thinker of a wholly different type, Mr. Herbert Spencer. The latter, in his Principles of Sociology, (1893 edition, I, pp. 93 and 96) has the following: "There are reasons for suspecting that men of the lowest types now known, forming social groups of the simplest kinds, do not exemplify men as they originally were. Probably, most of them had ancestors in higher states, and among their beliefs remain [of course, in a degraded form] some which were evolved during those higher states.... There is inadequate warrant for the notion that the lowest savagery has never been any higher than it is now."



Is it credible that those wise men of antiquity, Aristotle, Cicero, Seneca and others, who have written about God and the immortality of the soul, first received their knowledge on those subjects from their own understanding? No; they obtained it from others, to whom the knowledge was handed down from those who first knew it from the Ancient Word, of which we have spoken above. Nor do the writers on Natural Religion derive such knowledge from themselves; they merely confirm by rational deduction what they have learned from the Church where the Word is1 (True Christian Religion, no. 273).

1 The "writers on Natural Religion" here in view are, of course, believers; such as Butler, Paley, and others of the same class-to whom our reflections on a previous page do not apply.

A Word has existed at all times, though not the Word which we have at this day. There had been another Word in the Most Ancient Church, which was before the Flood; another in the Ancient Church, which was after the Flood; then came the Word written by Moses and the Prophets in the Jewish Church, and lastly the Word written by the Evangelists in the Christian Church (Arcana Coelestia, no. 2895).

It is worthy of note that this doctrine of a Revelation prior to the one we possess--called in the second of these extracts "the Ancient Word," existing in a Church called, in the third, "the Ancient Church," prior to the Israelitish--inherently probable, we submit, in itself, derives strong support from references in the Hebrew Scriptures to certain named "Books" from which quotations are there made just as if they, and the Books from which they were taken, were Divine.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 35 The Books in question are "the Book of Jasher," "the Book of the Wars of Jehovah" and a third referred to as "them that speak in proverbs;1 and the references themselves are as follow:

1 A better rendering would be, "The Enunciators,"--parallel in form, as will be noted, to the expression, "The Prophets," for our prophetic Books as a whole.


"Then spake Joshua to Jehovah, in the day when Jehovah delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel; and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon, and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. "And2 the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies." Is not this written in the Book of Jasher?'" (Josh. x. 12, 13).

2 We have indicated by subsidiary quotation marks the portion of Joshua's speech on this occasion that seems to be taken from the Book of Jasher. The situation would appear to have been that, in the crisis of the battle raging before his eyes, Joshua, perceiving the desirability, in the interests of Israel, of a prolongation of the hours of daylight, suddenly bethought him of some words in the Book of Dasher, which he had read or of which he had heard, and was moved by the recollection to invoke, to appearance the sun and moon, but in reality "Jehovah," in the terms he does.

"And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son: (also he bade them teach the children of Judah the bow; behold, it is written3 in the Book of Jasher)"--2 Sam. i. 17, 18.

3 What it is that is written in the Book of Dasher is, in this case, impossible, in the present state of knowledge, to determine, and unprofitable to conjecturealthough conjectures are not lacking. It may be well to mention that several so-called "'Books of Jasher" have been presented to the world; but while some are manifest frauds, written (in part) to fit the above references, none can be assigned to a date early enough to have been cited by the writers of the Scripture Books in which they are mentioned.




"Wherefore it is said in the Book of the Wars of Jehovah, What he did in the Red Sea, and in the brooks of Arnon, and at the stream of the brooks that goeth down to the dwelling of Ar, and lieth upon the borders of Moab (Num. xxi. 14, 15).

To "THEM THAT SPEAK IN PROVERBS" (better, "THE ENUNCIATORS"--see foot-note on previous page):

"Wherefore, they that speak in proverbs say, Come into Heshbon, let the city of Sihon be built and prepared: for there is a fire gone out of Heshbon, a flame from the city of Sihon; it hath consumed Ar of Moab, and the lords of the high places of Arnon. Woe to thee, Moab; thou art undone, O people of Chemosh; he hath given his sons that escaped, and his daughters, into captivity unto Sihon King of the Amorites. We have shot at them; Heshbon is perished even unto Dibon, and we have laid them waste even unto Nophah, which reacheth unto Medeba1 (Num. xxi. 27-30).

1 That these are prophetic enunciations, not "proverbs," is at once evident; but the fact is placed beyond doubt by the following strikingly similar, and in some respects even almost identical, language in our own admittedly prophetic Book of Jeremiah: "A fire shall come forth out of Heshbon, and a flame from the midst of Sihon, and shall devour the corner of Moab and the crown of the head of the tumultuous ones. Woe be unto thee, O Moab! the people of Chemosh perisheth: for thy sons are taken captives and thy daughters captives" (Jer. x1viii. 45, 46).



This doctrine of a Divine Word prior to the present one derives independent corroboration, moreover, from Biblical archeology, by its discovery of the Assyro-Babylonian accounts of the Creation and the Deluge, and other legends handed down in the mythology of all nations, civilized and savage, relating to, practically, every subject dealt with in the first eleven chapters of Genesis. That these chapters have a peculiar character of their own, radically differentiating them from the whole of the remainder of those Scriptures to which they are the introduction, is commonly, we may almost say universally, recognized amongst Biblical scholars; and much, of various kinds and differing value, has been written regarding the problems presented by the nature of this difference. A comparatively recent little work devoted exclusively to this subject, is, The early Narratives of Genesis: a brief Introduction to the Study of Genesis i. xi.; by Professor Herbert Edward Ryle, B.D.; from which we presently make an extract relating to the Assyro-Babylonian legends referred to above. In the meantime it is sufficient--and highly important--to mention that these legends present so many and such striking resemblances to the Genesis narratives, that, on their first discovery, it was at once taken for granted that they were originally derived from Genesis, and had subsequently degenerated into their present corrupt and polytheistic form, from long tradition in a polytheistic environment.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 38 Examination of the evidence as to the age of the Assyro-Babylonian documents, however, showing that at least one of them, the famous "Sippara tablet," is of the date 2250 B.C., or 750 years prior to the time of Moses, made this hypothesis obviously untenable. Thereupon, an alternative hypothesis, deriving the Genesis account from the Babylonian, was advanced, and is in some quarters now accepted as if it were proved fact-which it certainly is not. Professor (now Sir) George Adam Smith, for example, says:

We are ignorant of the time at which the Hebrews received these stories from their Babylonian sources; while, in their Biblical form, they exhibit so many differences from the Babylonian, as to make it probable that the materials were used by the writers of the Pentateuchal documents only after long tradition within a Hebrew atmosphere (Modern Criticism and the Preaching of the Old Testament, pp. 61, 62).

That this, however, although so confidently put forth, is by no means a necessary conclusion, still less an established truth, is shown by Professor Albert T. Clay, writing in 1907:

It is quite within the range of possibility and reasonableness to conceive the idea that both stories have a common origin among the Semites who entered Babylonia prior to their amalgamation with the Sumerians, and who may have also carried their traditions into Palestine.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 39 Contrary to the view held by some critics that the Hebrew story belongs to the time of the exile or after, there are indications that it belongs to a great antiquity. And it is also possible that, in some way unknown to us, it had been handed down in a form more or less free from the fantastic polytheistic features of the Babylonian version (Light on the Old Testament from Babel, p. 75).

We ask the reader to pay special attention to the closing sentence of this extract, as we shall have to refer again to it presently. At the moment, we adduce the statement from Prof. Ryle which we promised above. It will be observed that it is more positive in tone than Prof. Clay's statement on the same point, just cited

Both the Hebrew and the Assyro-Babylonian traditions are derived from a primitive and prehistoric common origin. The Hebrew ancestors of the people of Israel were members of the same stock as the founders of the great empires on the Euphrates, and received from yet earlier ages the traditions of the past.... Despite the variations in points of detail, the identity of the two narratives is indisputable. But, while the Assyro-Babylonian narrative reproduces the character of the mythology which marks the religious thought of the great world-empires of the Euphrates valley, the Hebrew narrative has come to us stripped of the old (!?) idolatry (The Early Narratives of Genesis, p. 111 ).



It is assumed here, it will be noted, that the common original from which it is postulated that both narratives are derived, contained the idolatrous features which characterize the Assyro-Babylonian version, and that this version is truer to the original than the Genesis one. Prof. Clay's view, on the other hand, would seem to imply that the polytheistic features of the Babylonian version were an accretion acquired in Babylonia, and that the Genesis narrative, in its freedom from those characteristics, preserved the character of the original, and is the one that is true to it.

Another writer, commenting upon the claim of Prof. Sayce--which is the same as that of Prof. George Adam Smith, quoted above--that the resemblances between the Genesis and Babylonian accounts "compel us to believe, not only that the two accounts are from the same source, but that the Hebrew is from the Babylonian," definitely advances the position indicated in our last sentence; remarking:

The view of a pure original for all alike is not entertained [by Prof. Sayce and those who think with him]. And yet that view might have reasonably led to the conclusion that the Hebrew story is a genuine transcript of that original; while the Babylonian is only a monstrous travesty of it (Exodus: An Autobiography of Moses, by J. M. Denniston, M.A.).

In view of all this divergence of opinion, how satisfying, to any mind free from anti-revelation bias, is Swedenborg's doctrine of an Ancient Word, in possession of an Ancient Church prior to the Israelitish, having its primeval habitat in Canaan, from which, as a centre, the essential religious concepts were disseminated to surrounding countries, together with much of the contents, and in some cases even veritable copies of their Word; from certain Books of which, as noted above, quotations are avowedly embodied in our Scriptures!


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 41 Swedenborgs doctrine on these points is further extended to predicate that "the first seven chapters of Genesis"--which are the ones that contain these universally-distributed stories--"exist in that Ancient Word, and not the least word is wanting" (Doctrine of the Sacred Scripture, no. 103, end), and were taken bodily from it to form the introduction to the new Word about to be given with the Israelitish people--thus linking that up, as it were, with the primitive revelation of all, made to the earliest generations of the human race.

This doctrine of an Ancient Word, as above presented, furnishes, to say the least, a highly probable explanation of the peculiarities of style which notoriously differentiate these chapters from the whole of the rest of the Hebrew Scriptures; and it is found, in practice, to throw a flood of light upon the various problems presented by these chapters, and by numerous other Scriptures in the remaining Old Testament Books. This is why we place it before the reader here, and not by any means as requiring his acceptance of it at this stage of the inquiry.

We shall have to return to this subject in a subsequent chapter.



3.--The Distinguishing Feature of Divine "Authorship."

ATTENTION was drawn, in the introductory chapter, to the universally accepted view that any composition of which God is the Author would differ from a human composition in the respect of being free from all imperfections, judged from the same standpoints as that from which we judge the products of human authorship; and it becomes evident, on examination, that this is the only respect in which it is considered that any difference is to be looked for. In other words, the underlying assumption is that a Divine Book and a human book would be the same in kind, and would differ only in quality, or perfection. The assumption would, no doubt, be readily enough avowed, if the question were raised; and, in fact, it has, in some instances, been quite openly stated, and put forth as a commonsense and indisputable position, which, of course, every one accepts.1

1 For an instance in point, see Chap. i, p. 9, above. 43

One writer, for example, after stating that, "in practical Christian experience and edification, some things in the Bible are quietly left at one side"--i.e. are tacitly recognized as not conducive to edification--follows this up with a rather striking illustration: "The Lord Jesus," says the writer in question, "at one time met the disciples when they were hungry, and gave them a piece of broiled fish on the coals.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 43 Were He to bring me such a gift, I should expect to find it excellent fish. Should I, therefore, expect to find it unlike any other fish in structure? Would it be disloyalty to Him to stop and look for the bones?"

The "interpretation," here, would appear to be this the Sacred Scripture is a "fish" given to us by God; any book of human composition is a "fish," given to us by the man who writes it. God's "fish" we may confidently rely upon as sound and wholesome as to the eatable parts, but not as differing from man's "fish" in the respect either of having no parts that are uneatable, or as presenting any essential differences in structure: "Should I expect to find it unlike any other fish in structure?" The assumption, in other words--and the point is that it is the universally--accepted assumption on the point--is, as we stated, that a truly Divine Book and an ordinary human book would be the same in kind, or in "structure," and would differ only in quality--that is, in excellence or perfection. We might "expect to find it excellent," but in no way radically and structurally different from a human book.1

1 For another instance in point, see Chap. i, pp. 8-9, above.



We venture to submit that this assumption is completely at variance with the rational necessities of the case; that it is untenable, and that it is the fruitful source of all the difficulties that stand in the way, with many, of accepting the Sacred Scripture as the "Word of God" in any unsophisticated sense of that expression. We urge, on the contrary, that we are entitled, and indeed bound, to expect, in a truly Divine Book, that it shall present some marked peculiarities "in structure," by which it should be radically distinguished from any human book whatsoever.

Is not this the case with every other Divine production? Compare any work of God we please, with any similar work of man--any product of the Divine handiwork with any comparable product of human workmanship. "It is surprising that men in general," it has been well said, "have not yet properly observed that all things made by man, such as works of art--statues, pictures and innumerable other things---which, on the outside, appear beautiful, and are esteemed of great value, are interiorly nothing but clay and mud, and devoid of beauty; it is only the external surface which the eye admires. Whereas those things that grow from seeds"--thus, Divine creations--"begin from an internal, and grow and put on an external. Such things are not only beautiful to the sight, but the more interiorly they are examined, the more beautiful they appear" (Swedenborg's Spiritual Diary, no. 252).

Look, for example, at an artificial flower, the handiwork of man, in comparison with a natural flower, the creation of God. In these days, the making of artificial flowers has reached a marvelous pitch of verisimilitude; so marvelous, in some cases, that, aided by scents, it takes quite a close examination to make one perfectly certain that it is artificial.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 45 Supposing, however, it were brought to a still higher degree of perfection, so that no merely external test could establish its artificiality, the internal test of dissection would settle the point at once. As soon as the surface is left behind, and the examination passes into interiors--the sphere of "structure"--radical differences emerge, which place the manufactured flower in a different world, so to speak, from the created one. Whatever the fabric, or material, of which the manufactured flower is made--silk, cotton, or other textile, or some matter drawn directly or indirectly from the mineral kingdom-as soon as ever the interior is entered, the flower, as such, disappears, and nothing but mere material remains--cotton, silk, clay, mud, as the case may be, devoid of all beauty, and especially of all floral beauty, of any description whatever.

How different the result that is presented when a natural, or created, flower is dissected, is known to every student of botany. Take any part of it you please--a single petal, say: the more interiorly, if only at the same time skillfully, it is dissected, the more marvels and beauties of organization, structure and use greet and delight at once the eye and the mind.

The same kind of difference, but on a higher plane and a larger scale, obtains on the comparison of that summit of created works, a man, with the most perfect statue that human art has ever produced.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 46 Externally, a statue may, and a really well-executed one will, be so perfect, in every line, and in the whole form and pose, as to be indistinguishable in these respects from a natural human body; and supposing that it were skillfully colored, in imitation of a living man, or woman, and could be endowed with the power of automatic movement, it might be impossible to be absolutely certain that it is not a real man. It is even conceivable that a statue might be made so perfect, in shape and proportion, in every limb, muscle and part, as to surpass in beauty of external form any actual man or woman that ever lived.

Break your statue, however; and all its beauty is instantly destroyed. No matter how carefully and intelligently you examine any or all of its fragments, there is no beauty to be discovered. Dissection, by whatsoever means, brings to light nothing but matter--marble, plaster, plasticine, or common or refined clay of any other kind; but matter, crude matter, and nothing else.

What a contrast with this is presented by the least outwardly beautiful human being ever born, when we leave the surface and explore what lies beneath and within! As every student who has worked in the dissecting room is aware, the farther the work of dissection is carried, and the parts it lays bare are examined under the microscope, the more marvelous the beauties of organization that are brought to light: new wonders emerging as the work of dissection and examination advances farther into the interiors of the body.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 47 And the more interiorly this examination is pursued, the more wonderful and admirable the beauties of form, structure, organization, adjustment of part to part and of all the parts to the whole, and adaptation of structure to use is seen to be. And so on without end. The wonders thus disclosed are literally inexhaustible. Part lies within part, structure within structure, each more amazingly beautiful than its predecessor.

And this contrast holds, as all are aware, as between all Divine works as compared with human works. No Divine creation in the organic world lacks the characteristics to which we have pointed; and, on the other hand, no human manufacture possesses them.

In the case of man, the contrast does not end even here. Beyond the outer form and the inner forms to which consideration has so far been directed, there lies, within him, a mind or spirit, in virtue of which he is able to enter upon the knowledge and rational comprehension of the whole material universe, to build up human societies, to invent machines, to harness and control the forces of nature to serve his purposes, good and evil, even to mould nature itself to some extent to his own will. While, beyond the human mind or spirit, there is, most wonderful of all, the immortal soul, by virtue of which man is capable of knowing, apprehending and loving God, and of being conjoined with Him by faith and love to eternity.



Such radical and fundamental contrasts obtain, as stated, between all Divine works and all human works. There are no exceptions to the rule. And it is impossible, on reflection, to avoid the conclusion that the differences are derived to the "work," in each case, from the "worker," and are THE MARKS of Divine and human workmanship respectively.

And when God undertakes to produce that particular "work," in the sphere of mind, that we call a "book," shall this fundamental distinction, present and insistent everywhere else, suddenly cease to obtain? The whole analogy of the case forbids us so to think. On the contrary, we are led to expect to find as great a difference, and of a similar kind, between a Divine composition and a human, as we find everywhere else between Divine and human productions.

Where, next, does this line of thought bring us as regards the precise nature of the difference that should be found in a Divine as compared with a human composition? The essential mark of all products of human workmanship is that, it is limited to the outside, a matter exclusively of external form. Its whole significance lies on the surface. On the other hand, in a Divine work, the surface, or outward form, is only as it were an introduction, or portico, to forms and relations, far more wonderful in character, that exist within.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 49 Outwardly, a Divine creation may be more, or less, perfect than a comparable human production; but the human production will contain nothing more than lies on the outside, whereas the Divine will contain immeasurably more and greater beauties and perfections within, than without.

Now the essence of a book, or composition, is its meaning. Unless it has or contains a meaning it is not a book at all, in any real sense. It is, therefore, in respect to meaning, that any two books, and consequently a Divine and a human book, will agree and differ, and thus that the characteristic differences between Divine and human "literature" (shall we say?) must be looked for.

A human composition, or book, contains its meaning and significance on the surface, or in the literal sense of its words and sentences, according to the grammatical construction proper to the language in which it is written; and a knowledge of the words, grammar and usages of that language is all-granted, of course, the requisite degree of native or trained intelligence-that will be required to enable the reader to arrive at the meaning of the writer, or to understand what the book is intended to convey.

Not so, however-going by the analogy of all other spheres-in the case of a Divine composition. That, it is true, will have a surface or literal meaning, attainable in the same way and by the same means as the literal meaning of an ordinary human composition-that is, by external examination; but in the case of a Divine book, that will not be the whole meaning.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 50 It will be only the beginning. Beyond and within the "letter" there will be--so the analogy tells us--not merely an interior meaning, but deeper and deeper meanings successively, which no application of the resources of grammar and lexicon, however extensive and competent, will suffice to bring to light. For that, something answering more nearly to the dissecting-knife will be needed.

To continue the analogy. A book produced by God may (or may not) be more perfect--that is accurate in matter and beautiful in literary form--superficially, or in its literal sense, than one produced by man--man, as we have noted, can make some things which are on the surface more beautiful than any answering thing to be found in nature; but it will have none of those inner beauties and marvels, which an interior examination of even the repulsive things of nature invariably brings to light. When you have mastered its literal meaning, you have mastered all.

When you have mastered the literal meaning of a Divine book, on the contrary--such is the teaching of the analogy--you will be only at the outskirts, or on the threshold: its essential meaning, its deeper beauties and teachings--the real evidence of its Divine origin, because resulting from it--will not be seen; because all this, though assuredly present, lies within, and can only be reached by means other than those which suffice for arriving at its literal meaning.



The characteristics of Divine productions as compared with human, in other spheres, therefore, if we heed the universality and nature of the differences between them, lead us to expect, and require us to look for, marked peculiarities "in structure" in any truly Divine composition, radically distinguishing it from ordinary human compositions. In other words, the difference between them will be a difference in hind, and not merely in quality, excellence or perfection. It follows, therefore, that the practically universally accepted postulate to the contrary, is a profound mistake, and the fruitful source of innumerable and mischievous misconceptions, as well as of the inability experienced by many thousands of devout and reflecting men and women to see any evidence of Divinity in the Sacred Scriptures.

It will be seen in the next chapter that our Lord expressly taught the same thing concerning our Scriptures, as we have here concluded respecting any composition that is of actual Divine Authorship; a fact which we are plainly entitled to claim as confirmation from His mouth of the principle it has been the aim of the present chapter to establish.



4.Do our Scriptures possess this Characteristic Feature of Divine Authorship?

THE question with which we are now face to face, is not, simply, Do our Scriptures contain an inner meaning, spiritual in quality, here and there? Nor yet, Are they, in partsor even, throughoutcapable of being turned to spiritual account? The real question is, Are they, by their very nature, of such a character as to yield, in every part, as their true meaning, an inner, spiritual sense, which is on a higher plane, and of greater edification, than anything to be found on their surface, or in their literal meaning?

Happily, testimonies to the point abound; but there is one testimony, standing out beyond all others, which has the advantage of being at once absolutely comprehensive in scope and explicit in character, and, moreover, directly to the point. With this one we begin. It is the familiar, but apparently little understood, dictum of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, concerning His words: The words that I speak unto you, THEY ARE SPIRIT, and they are life (John vi. 63). He had just before said, as recorded in the first half of the same verse, The flesh profiteth nothing; it is THE SPIRIT that giveth life."


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 53 A study of the circumstances which led up to this pronouncement makes it abundantly clear that the Lord was speaking, in the first part of it, of the "flesh" and "spirit" of His words, and that by "flesh" He meant their literal meaning and by "spirit" their spiritual meaning. The teaching of Jesus, therefore, is, that His words have both a literal and a spiritual meaning. That is their necessary nature, as His words. Note, also, the suggested comparison of His words to a living man, in the application to them of the expressions "flesh" (or body) and "spirit" (or soul). Just as a man has a soul and a body, so the Lord's words have a soul and a body; just as, in a man, the body is of no importance as compared with the soul, so, in His words, the "flesh," or body, or literal meaning, "profiteth nothing," it is "the spirit,"--i. e. the spiritual meaning--that "giveth life"; and just as the soul is the real man-the body being a mere auxiliary to it for the purposes of life in this world-so the spiritual sense of His words is their real meaning: "the words that I speak unto you, they ARE spirit, and they are life."

In claiming--as we do--this pronouncement as ascribing to the Scriptures the same character as the argument of our previous chapter ascribes to any Divine composition, in virtue of its being such, we fully recognize that the immediate reference is to the words of Jesus Himself.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 54 Without, here, urging the point that, Jesus was "GOD manifest in the flesh," and that therefore the words of Scripture are just as much His words as \are those that were uttered through His human lips while He was in the world, we have another statement of His concerning His words which must be connected with this present one, and which opens in the self-same terms--"The words that I speak unto you." This statement is "The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of Myself: the Father that dwelleth in Me, He, doeth the works"--and thus, of course, "speaketh the words. The words the Lord spoke--His words--were, therefore, really spoken by God, "the Father," in Him and through Him-the same God that gave the Scriptures. It was really because they were GOD'S words, that His words had the characteristics He declared them to have. Whether spoken through Jesus, or spoken or written through the penmen of the Scriptures, is immaterial: all are equally spoken by God, and derive from that fact the characteristics expressed in the dictum, "the flesh profiteth nothing, it is the spirit that giveth life: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life."

We have, then, as stated, in this declaration of the Lord, an endorsement of the conclusions reached in the previous chapter as to the necessary nature of any Book having God for its Author, which no one who "believes on the Lord Jesus Christ" can desire to gainsay.

A closer investigation of this dictum in the light of the circumstances in which it was given, will make its exact force even clearer, and more definite, unmistakable and instructive, than it is when viewed apart from its context.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 55 It arose out of the Lord saying: "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day" (John vi. 53, 54). In reference to an immediately preceding statement, less explicit but of the same import, and scarcely less clear, the Jews who heard had asked, "How can this man give us His flesh to eat?" (ver. 52); and after this one, "many of His disciples" said, "This is an hard saying, who can hear it?" (ver. 6o). It was this perplexity of certain of the disciples, in regard to His statement about men eating His flesh and drinking His blood as an indispensable condition of eternal life, that was the immediate occasion of the dictum, "It is the spirit that quickeneth: the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life."

The disciples and the Jews, when the Lord had spoken of His flesh and blood, and of men eating and drinking them, had evidently understood Him to mean the literal "flesh" of His material body, visible to their bodily eyes and extant to their bodily senses, and the literal material "blood" that coursed through the arteries and veins of that body, and by "eating," literal eating, and by "drinking," literal drinking.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 56 The purport of the Lord's correction of their error; therefore, was that, in so understanding His words, they had mistaken Him, and that by "flesh" and blood and "eating" and "drinking" He did NOT mean the literal things and acts commonly so named, but spiritual things and acts for which they stood-though He did not, at the time, indicate what those spiritual things and acts were; and that, by putting a literal construction on the words, they could get no benefit from them; for the reason that He had spoken them, and all His words were "spirit and life" in their own nature, and consequently must be spiritually understood, and not literally, if their real meaning was to be known. And this, our claim is, applies equally to every "God-inspired Scripture," whatever the channel, as, regards speaker or penman, through whom it comes to us.

Other, and quite independent, testimonies that this is the actual nature of the Scriptures of Old and New Testaments, exist in great abundance--an abundance too great, by far, to be adduced in full here. One group of these testimonies speaks of various statements in both Old and New Testaments as "parables"; a form of composition in which, as is well known, the things actually named are not meant, but they stand for, or "represent," other things which are not mentioned, but are signified, or meant, by those that are. This term "parable," therefore, covers substantially the same ground as the Lord's saying about His words just considered. An example of this group of testimonies is contained in the introductory sentence of the 78th Psalm: "Give ear, O my people, to my law, incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a PARABLE: I will utter dark sayings of old; which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us" (vv. 1-3).


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 57 Now, the Psalm thus heralded as a "parable," consists of a summary of Israelitish history, extending from the exodus from Egypt to the kingship of David in Canaan. This historical summary is the "parable" pre-announced in verse 2. And since this summary of the history is a "parable," and thus has for its real meaning another one than the literal, it cannot be considered a violent inference that the history itself, at large, and thus all the Old Testament historical Books are of the same character, thus, parabolic! We make this application of the words in question, and, at the same time, suggest that these histories in the Old Testament Scriptures derive their "parabolic" character, not from the fact that they are history, or from being true history, or even from their being Israelitish history, but from the fact that they are inspired of God--just as the Lord's words, as we have already seen, owe the unique character He Himself ascribes to them, to their being Divine words.

Moreover, in addition to the Lord's explicit teaching considered above: "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life," we have the express assurance that all His utterances were "parable." There is, for example, the well-known statement "Without a parable spake He not unto them [i. e. the people]; and, when they were alone, He expounded all things to His disciples" (Mark iv. 34).


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 58 It appears, certainly, to be implied, here, that He did not speak "in parables" when alone with His disciples, "expounding" the things He had been saying to the multitudes. Further examination, however, makes it evident that this appearance, however apparently irresistible, cannot be sustained. In proof of this, it is sufficient to cite the Lord's utterance recorded in John xvi. 25: "These things have I spoken unto you IN PARABLES:1 but the time cometh when I shall no more speak unto you in parables, but I shall show you plainly of the Father;" and the things here referred' to as spoken "in parables," if we take them to point to the immediate context--and they must unquestionably include that-were spoken to the disciples only in His last, most private interview with them previous to His arrest in Gethsemane.

1 The text, in both A. V. and R.V. has "proverbs," but each gives the marginal reading, "or, parables." And, as the Greek word is the same as is employed in the case of the "parable" of the Good Shepherd (see John x. 6), there can be no question that the word "parable" gives the true idea-which "proverbs" does not--and we have accordingly adopted that reading in quoting the passage.

It is instructive to glance at this address, thus stated by, the Lord to be "parable." Most assuredly, there is nothing in the outward form of what He had been saying to suggest the idea that it is "parable"--consisting, as it does, of the teachings about "the Father" and the "Holy Spirit," and, incidentally, the Lord Himself in relation to both--and, most certainly, Christendom at large has never regarded them as "parable," and does not so regard them to this day.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 59 Yet, surely, in face of the Lord's most express declaration: "These things have I spoken unto you IN PARABLES," this is very remarkable Our present concern with the passage, however, is on account of the conclusive proof it furnishes that the Lord spoke "in parables" in His most private and confidential conversations with His disciples, as well as in His public addresses to the multitudes. And, as these two classes of utterance cover all the Lord's sayings, we find the Lord testifying, in the two statements under our immediate consideration, that ALL He said was spoken "in parables"; which, of course, is in entire agreement with His canon: "The words that I speak unto you, they ARE SPIRIT and they are life," and may be taken as other testimonies to the same truth. Another point to be noted in passing, as flowing from the fact that even the things the Lord spoke in private to His disciples were spoken "in parables," is, that this was equally the case with those private conversations in which "He expounded all things to His disciples" that He had spoken to the multitude. His "expositions" of the parables He spoke to the multitude, were them, selves "parables," though commonly less darkly veiled than the others. This, indeed, as may appear later, is the case with all "interpretations" of parables, dreams, and visions given in the Sacred Scriptures, and follows from the principle that all GOD'S words are "spirit."



Another class of passages to the same purport, that is, passages showing that the Scriptures are of a "parabolic" character throughout, consists of those numerous New Testament statements that events related therein are "fulfillments" of some Old Testament Scriptures. In scarcely any instance can this be made to appear, without interpreting the Old Testament Scripture immediately in question parabolically. But, let us glance at some of them, and see for ourselves.

Take, first, a statement that occurs in Matthew, in reference to the Lord's practice, which has just been engaging our attention, of speaking in parables "All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake He not unto them: THAT IT MIGHT BE FULFILLED which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables," etc. (Matt. xiii. 34, 35). The "prophecy" here in question, is, it will be noted, the one standing at the beginning of Psalm lxxviii., and considered at pp. 57-8, above. Read in its place in the Psalm, it is perfectly plain that the statement in question is spoken by the Psalmist in reference to himself. Yet it is declared in Matthew that it was "fulfilled" in, THE LORD'S practice of speaking "in parables"--a thing that can only be true if it was spoken of the Lord; which, again, can only have been the case in the event of the Psalmist standing for, or representing the Lord, and being thus, for the purpose of that Scripture, a parabolic figure, and that "Scripture" itself, in the Psalm (and not merely those which it introduces) a "parable"!



So in other cases. During the Last Supper, Jesus speaks of the fact that Judas, the traitor, received at His hands a piece of bread steeped in wine and went immediately out to perpetrate the betrayal of His Master, as so happening "that the Scripture might be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me" (John xiii. 18, 26-27). This "Scripture" occurs in Psalm xli. 9: "Yea, mine oven familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me"--and, as it there stands, is a lament of David at the treachery towards himself of his own trusted friend! It is, again, only by David there standing for, or representing, Jesus, and so by this "Scripture" also being parabolic, that it could possibly be "fulfilled" in anything that happened to Jesus.

The flight into Egypt, again, in Jesus' infancy, is stated to have taken place, "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet,1 saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son" (Matt. ii. 15). The "prophecy" here declared to be "fulfilled" in the event related, is written in Hosea xi. i; where it reads: "When ISRAEL was a child, I loved him; and I called My son out of Egypt;" which can apply to THE LORD only in the event of the nation of Israel, in this place, at least, "parabolically" referring to Him, and of utterances literally historical becoming prophetic--on occasion, at all events--when understood as "parable."

1 See R. V.



The case is quite the same with the disposal of Jesus' seamless coat at the Crucifixion, by lot, instead of by partition; which is said to have happened "that the Scripture might be fulfilled which saith, They parted my garments among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots" (John xix. 23-24; see for the Scripture thus "fulfilled" Psalm xxii. 18, where, again, the reference in the Letter is to David; who, once more, is a "parable" of Jesus, and in some other instances.

In the "fulfillment" of the Scripture, "A bone of him shall not be broken," in the circumstance that, after the Crucifixion, when soldiers "came to Jesus and saw that He was dead already, they brake not His legs" (John xix. 33, 36), we have a testimony of another and a peculiarly illuminating sort; for the reference of the "fulfilled" Scripture is not to a historical personage, as in the other cases, but to the Passover lamb. The Scripture in question is "Thou shalt not carry aught of the flesh thereof out of the house; neither shall ye break a bone thereof" (Exod. xii. 46; see also Num. ix. 12). This instance, consequently, exhibits the Passover lamb, in the Jewish ceremonial law, as a "parable" representative of the Lord Jesus Christ: a relation clearly recognized by the Apostle Paul, where he says, Christ OUR PASSOVER is SACRIFICED for us; therefore, let us keep the feast," etc. (1 Cor. v. 7): it was the Passover lamb that was "sacrificed," and a bone of which was not to be broken.



Such instances might be multiplied almost indefinitely; but enough have been adduced to satisfy any intelligent and candid mind that the testimony of the Scriptures to their own parabolic character in all parts--Old Testament and New, history, prophecy, Law and Psalm--is at once unmistakable and overwhelming.

The Epistle to the Hebrews, moreover--by whomsoever written--is conclusive evidence that this parabolic or representative character of the Old "Testament Scriptures was very distinctly recognized, and those Scriptures interpreted according to it, in the infancy of the Christian Church--which was its best period. In that Epistle, for example, it is expressly stated that, by the law that only the High Priest might go into the "holy of holies," and he only once a year on a specified occasion, "the Holy Ghost SIGNIFIED" something relating to the Lord Jesus, and also that the law in question "was a FIGURE for the time then present" (Heb. ix. 8-9); that "the law," as a whole, was "a SHADOW of good things to come" (x. 1); that the carcasses and offal of the animals offered in sacrifice under "the law" pointed to, represented and signified the body of Jesus that was crucified (xiii. 11-13), and that the "high priest" similarly pointed to and represented the Lord (iv. 14); while Paul, in his Epistle to the Galatians, explicitly declares that the historical matter of Abraham's two sons, the one by a bond-maid, the other by a freewoman, etc., is "an allegory" (Gal. iv. 22-24);--things which could only be said on the hypothesis of the Old Testament "Scriptures," properly so called, being of a parabolic or representative character.



We arrive, therefore, irresistibly at the conclusion that our Scriptures--they themselves being witness, and certain things in certain Epistles witnessing to the same effect--do possess the characteristic mark of the Divine Authorship to which they lay claim--as being Divine "parable" throughout, or--what is the same thing-containing, over and above whatever of literal truth and meaning, historical or doctrinal, they may be susceptible of, an inner, spiritual sense which is their "spirit and life," and which is not only higher and more profitable than the "letter," but is the real meaning itself, intended. That this is the case with true "parable" no one will or can gainsay; and that it must be the case with a composition that is "spirit" as distinguished from "letter"--"the words that I speak unto you, they ARE spirit"--is still less open to doubt.

It is imperative to note, however, that it is not for all the Books brought together and bound up in our ordinary English Bibles that this "parabolic" character is claimed, but only for those that are of veritable Divine Authorship; the very words of which, that is to say, are God's words, and not, really and ultimately, the words of the human writer, whatever may have been the appearance on that matter to him.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 65 A careful examination of the sixty-six Books that make up what we call "The Holy Bible," brings to light the perhaps rather startling fact that only some of them show any sign, on their face, of being the Word of God, still less make any overt claim to being so, or give, in any part of them, words which are ascribed to God. Some are of such a style as almost, on that account, to preclude the idea of their having God for their Author. This remark applies especially to the Epistles; which are, as is manifest on the face of them, simply letters--of guidance, exhortation, instruction, as the case may be-written by Apostles to local Churches they had themselves founded, to the Christian communities at large, or to specific, named individuals.

The full discussion of this subject--which is that of the "canon"--belongs to a later stage of our investigation, and is gone into, in detail and at large, in the chapter on that subject with which the present work closes, and for which the very careful and earnest attention of the reader, at the proper time, is invoked. It must suffice, meanwhile, for us to specify those books of the "Bible" for which Divine Authorship, strictly defined, and a consequent parabolic character, are NOT claimed. These are: in the Old Testament--Ruth, 1 Chronicles to job, Proverbs to the Song of Solomon; and in the New--the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles.












5.The Point of View fundamentally altered.

IT is at once evident that conclusions so vital and fundamental as those at which we have arrived, must be correspondingly far-reaching, and must bring about a complete revolution in our way of thinking about the Scriptures and their contents. These conclusions involve, in fact, an entire change of standpoint; a change so great and radical that it is perhaps impossible to realize, at first, all that it entails. It behooves us therefore, to pause for a brief space to gather up, and endeavor to grasp, the nature, extent and significance of the change.

The whole of the change lies in the fact that all the God-inspired Books of our Bible, everything that is entitled to be regarded as "the Word of God," not only has a spiritual sense within, and additional to, the "letter," but has its proper meaning, its real message, in the spiritual sense, and not, primarily at all events, in the literal. This has been indicated, in passing, several times already: it seems desirable to look it, now, directly in the face.



It is, to begin with, the whole force and significance of the Lord's own canon-covering, as we have seen, till God-inspired Scripture as such: "It is THE SPIRIT that quickeneth. THE FLESH PROFITETH NOTHING: the words that I speak unto you, THEY ARE SPIRIT." This may be paraphrased: "It is in the spiritual sense that the profit, and thus the real meaning of My words is to be found, and not in their literal sense; for My words are spirit;" and the faithfulness of the paraphrase, as expressing the meaning of the original utterance, will not be challenged.

It is, likewise, the whole significance of the term "parable"--which, as we have also seen, the Scriptures, in various ways, demonstrate to be the character of the Divine Word; for it is of the very nature of a "parable"an earthly story with a heavenly meaning," to adopt the popular, but substantially accurate definition--that its teaching, and thus its real import, does not lie in its "earthly story" but in its "heavenly meaning," or inner sense. So unmistakably true is this, that no person in his senses would, for a moment, think of looking for the real meaning of any composition he knew to be a "parable" in its outer form: he would know that, because it is a "parable," he must look to an inner sense for the meaning of it, and that, if he cannot fathom that inner sense, he cannot know what the "parable" means.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 70 Nor will the case be otherwise, even though every statement in the "outer form" of the parable, literally taken, be absolutely correct, and the outer form so constructed as not only to be entirely coherent, but even to express important truth: if he knows, and bears in mind, that it is a "parable," he will still know that, if he has not arrived at its inner meaning, he has not got at the real "meaning" of the "parable," and, further, that, until he does so, he never will!

This, then, is where we stand in relation to the Divine Word, in the light of its own doctrine that it is, in its intrinsic nature, and consequently, throughout its whole length and breadth, Divine "parable": "It is THE SPIRIT that quickeneth: the flesh profiting nothing"--relatively speaking, of course, but in many specific instances, absolutely. This, in a word, is the new standpoint.

What, now, from this standpoint, becomes of the ordinary objections to the Divine Authorship of the Scriptures? Of these we took frank cognizance in our opening review of the present Biblical situation. They are all urged, and are all dealt with, as was then pointed out, from the old standpoint, the standpoint, namely, that, whatever the "spiritual lessons" that can be "drawn" from them, and whatever the spiritual, application, of which in ingenious hands they may be susceptible, their real meaning lies--in direct contradiction to the Lord Jesus Christ--in their literal sense and nowhere else, and that the words employed and the statements made were intended in the. literal sense and in no other; so that the "literal" sense is the real sense of the Scriptures.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 71 We noted, also, that, from that standpoint, the Divine Authorship of the Scriptures cannot be successfully maintained--by any, that is to say, who, being intelligently competent to deal with the questions involved, face the facts honestly and bow to the dictates of truth.

What is the effect of these objections from the new standpoint? Answer: They fall, pointless, to the ground! We see that this is so, as soon as we recall what is the character of the objections. The objections in question consist in the existence of Scientific, Historical, Philosophical, and Theological inaccuracies, and moral defects, in the statements of the Scriptures literally construed. But the statements of Scripture are "parable"--history, quasi-history, allegory, biography, philosophy, morals, theology, quasi-scientific statement and allusion--all is "parable." And inaccuracies and defects of the kind we have in view, in the "outer form" of a production that declares itself to be "parable"--as our Scriptures do-cannot affect its value, as "parable," in the smallest degree. The only possible criticism that can lie against a "parable" is in relation to its parabolic adequacy--that is to say, its suitability for conveying the truths, or inner meaning, the "parable" is intended to teach. It is important, also, to note that before such criticism-can be advanced, the inner meaning must be known, and the true principles of parabolic composition of the kind involved, understood.



To bring this point home to our minds, let us suppose that we have before us a "parable" that represents a horse, or other animal, as speaking, and even as taking intelligent part in a conversation.1 No one in his senses, knowing it to be a "parable"--as we, once more, know the Divine Word to be--would dream of inferring, from this, that the parabolist diet not know that animals had not the gift of speech, and that he, could not, therefore, be a wise and learned man, or a competent or trustworthy teacher. Nor would any one think of entertaining any misgiving as to the value of the "parable," because of this feature of its "outer form," or characterize the representation as an "error," or, indeed, advance any criticism whatever against it, on this: ground. Should any person be so foolish as to do any one of these things, seriously, he would certainly be set down by intelligent people as destitute of rationality; and no one would pay any attention to him.

1 Num. xxii. 28-31. Nevertheless, there is no reason for doubting, in this case, that there was a voice, which appeared to issue from the mouth of the ass, and which spoke the things here set down. See also Chap. 16, below.

The case would be the same, exactly, with a parable that spoke of jewels as growing on trees; of the sun as rising in the west and setting in the east; of there being light in the world before the sun was created;2 that ascribed to one person what it had previously ascribed to another; that said there were two of a certain kind of object, the number of which had before been given as "seven,"1 or vice versa;


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 73 that set down the ancestry of one of its personages (even though he were a real personage) differently in two different places;2 or even that assigned to God characteristics that we know He cannot really possess, and actions we know He could never have done.3

2 Gen. i. 3 and 14-18.

1 Gen. vi. 19; cfr. Vii. 2.
       2 Matt. i. 1-17; cfr. Luke iii. 23-38.
       3 Gen. xxii. 1-2; cfr. James i. 13.

Any person of ordinary intelligence who knew that the composition containing these features was a "parable," would discern in that fact an immediate explanation in general, of their presence, and would know that he would find in its "inner meaning," when obtained, the complete explanation in detail. Deviations, great or small, from scientific, philosophical, moral or theological truth, or historical or other natural fact, in a word, would tell him that the "inner meaning" of the particular context in question, could not be conveyed by the real truth, or the actual facts; and that, as the composition was not really, in intention--even though it might be in form--a scientific, or historical, or moral, or philosophical, or even a theological treatise, but a "parable," it was absolutely imperative that the actual facts, or real truths, should be modified in such a way and to such an extent--neither more, nor less-as might be necessary to make them serviceable to, the purposes of the "parable"; it being, obviously, of the nature of "parable" that the outer form must always bend to the requirements of the "inner meaning."



Such peculiarities, indeed all peculiarities of whatsoever kind in the "letter" of the Sacred Scriptures--they, once again, being Divine "parable" throughout--will, therefore, form no sort of evidence, to one who, on the abundant rational and Scriptural grounds we have had before us, has adopted "the new standpoint," against their Divine Authorship. They will, on the other hand, constitute valuable notifications to him of some fine or important distinction, or some fresh point, in relation to the matter treated of in the "inner sense," which bespeaks his yet closer attention. Every peculiarity in the "letter" is an indicator, to the intelligent student, of "inner sense," of the presence within of some point of spiritual truth of more than ordinary importance.



6.--The status of the "parabolic" Literal Sense as History and as Doctrine.

IT is manifest, then, that the objections ordinarily urged with success against the Divine Authorship of the Scriptures from the old point of view, are deprived of all validity, force, and even point, from the new; and that, if these are the only objections against it that can be urged, their Divine Authorship will never be seriously imperiled. It is not even necessary to deal with them separately; there invalidity is involved in their very nature, as having no possible application against a composition of the kind the Scriptures have been seen to be-a Divine "parable."

But, while this is undeniably the case, a little reflection will be sufficient to show that the new standpoint has its own difficulties--not, it is true, difficulties in the way of accepting the Divine Authorship of the Scriptures, but difficulties all the same. The difficulties referred to involve the reliability and value of the Letter of Scripture, from the new standpoint, as (a) History, and (b) Religion or Doctrine. It may easily appear that, if the Divine Word is in reality "parable," throughout, the real meaning of which must necessarily lie in its inner sense, its historical and even its religious value, in the Letter, must be at best problematical.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 76 It will almost certainly seem, from this point of view, that the statements of the Letter cannot be regarded as authority for doctrine. For how can a writing--the real meaning of which is to be found, not in its outer, but in its inner sense--be an authority for subjects treated of in the outer sense, especially since that sense is liable to modification to suit the requirements of the inner?

These are grave questions; and they must be answered--particularly so, in view of the fact that, hitherto, the inner sense, the real meaning, has been, and as regards the mass of mankind still is, unknown.

In approaching their answer, let us remind ourselves of the fact, repeatedly asserted and implied above, that the circumstance of the composition being parabolic in character does not necessitate-the fictional character of its outer form. There are varieties in parable. There is what may be called "pure" parable and allegory, the outer form of which does not assume to be dealing with matters of natural or historical fact: with this variety, no one would think of looking to the outer form for any teaching at all. He would know that he must turn from the outer form to the inner meaning, for whatever the parable has to teach. This applies to the avowed parables of Jesus in general--but with certain exceptions to be indicated presently.



Then there is what may be called the "mixed" (historical) parable, whose outer form is obviously partly historical and partly unhistorical, but whose historical and unhistorical elements are so intermingled as to constitute a disavowal of any genuinely historical intention for the outer form. No one would dream of building on the outer form in the "mixed" parable for historical purposes: he would know that he must obtain his history from other sources, in order to know what, in the parable before him, is historical and what is not.

Again, there is the "doctrinal" parable, as we may designate it, the outer form of which embraces matters of religious doctrine, which, of course, are not the real meaning of the "parable," because they are of its "outer form." The principle of dealing with such a parable would seem to be to regard the doctrine of the outer form as true, and thus as authoritative, unless it is known, from other sources, to be not true doctrine. An instance of this kind of parable is that of the Rich Man and Lazarus. This, dealing as it does, even in the outer form, with conditions of the life after death, necessarily involves the doctrine on that subject. Now, it is reasonable to suppose that, in making statements on points of religious doctrine, even in a "parable," the Lord would employ genuinely true statements, unless the exigencies of the inner meaning, or some other constraining consideration, should necessitate a deviation, less or greater, from genuine truth.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 78 The presumption, therefore, in such case, must be in favor of the truth of the doctrinal statements introduced, and they consequently be accepted as true, and hence as authoritative, unless it is known, on some other ground, that they, or some (or one) of them, are (or is) not so. In the parable in question, for example, it may be known, and proved, from other parts of the Word, with the full confirmation of sound reason, that the wicked in hell are not corporeally tormented in literal "flame": a fact which notifies the student of the parable that the references to fire and flame, in the "outer form," are to be taken spiritually only, and not literally. On the other hand, the representations that men after death are in bodies, albeit spiritual bodies only, with all organs and parts complete, and are fully equipped with all, the powers and faculties of mind and body which characterize human beings here; that resurrection takes place at death, and the judgment so soon afterwards as to be completed even while the earthly contemporaries of the subjects of it are still living in this world; that, for those who have once passed into their own place, in either heaven or hell, there is no passing into the opposite kingdom; and that the spiritual world is divided into three parts, heaven, hell, and an intermediate region, designated there "the great gulf"--these representations, being not contradicted, but corroborated, by other parts of the Word, with the full consent of reason, are to be accepted as true, and so as authoritative.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 79 For, any truth asserted by God, whether in the letter or in the spirit of His Word, carries with it His "authority."

These conclusions are, it will be at once admitted, equally applicable to all parts of the Divine parable which the Word of God throughout is, which in the outer form, have a doctrinal character; and in them we learn the exact kind and degree of value and confidence to be attached to the doctrinal portions of the "Letter" in general.

In the case of the "historical" parable-by which, here, is meant any historical narrative which is announced in the immediate context as a "parable"--the typical instance of which is the 78th Psalm--the position is somewhat similar; substituting, however, "history," where, in the former case, we have "doctrine." But there is this further difference whereas worldly history can never, in the nature of the case, be the proper subject-matter of Divine Revelation, "religion" or "doctrine" both can be and is. The true doctrine, therefore, that is scattered over the pages of the "Letter" of the Divine Word is revealed by God and would not have come to the knowledge of man but for its being so revealed: true history, on the contrary, is not, properly regarded, "revealed" at all, inasmuch as a knowledge of that could have come, and does come, to men by means of the exercise of their natural powers and faculties, without being revealed. Hence, all true doctrine in the Word, whether of the Letter or of the Spirit, is Revelation the true history, in the Letter of the Word, is not Revelation, but simply the vehicle of Revelation-the Revelation itself being the inner or spiritual sense of the history.



These positions apply to those parts of the Word which avow themselves as "parable" in their immediate context; and we have no misgivings as to their finding general acceptance with open and intelligent minds, as the necessary common sense and reason of the matter. If not quite self-evident, they appear to us so nearly so that they may be left to win their own way to acceptance--as regards, that is to say, those parts of the Word to which they have been, so far, applied.

They are equally valid, however, for all parts of the Word subsequent to the introductory first eleven chapters of Genesis; which, as we have seen earlier,1 have a special character of their own, which differentiates them from the remainder of the Sacred Volume. Actual history, as we then saw, begins with the call of Abram; and, from that point on, the Word, in its outer form, in both Old and New Testaments, consists' of history, biography, prophecy, psalm and (in the New Testament especially) doctrine. The Old Testament history is that of the Israelitish people the New Testament, that of our Lord's life on earth. The, main stream of Old Testament "history" is comprised principally in what are called "the historical Books": Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, the two Books of Samuel, and the two Books of the Kings; and the New Testament "history" in the four Gospels: Old Testament "prophecy" in "the prophetical Books" Isaiah to Malachi; the New Testament "prophetic" Book being that of Revelation.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 81 Some historical matter, also, is contained in the prophetical Books of the Old Testament; and it is the part of a true literary exegesis to determine what, in those Books, is historical and what not historical.

1 Chap. 2, p. 38, above.

The question immediately before us, is as to the degree of confidence that can be placed in the historical portions of both Old and New Testaments. Their substantial historicity is felt to carry us hardly far enough, as it leaves it an open question whether this, that or the' other particular is historically true, or not.

The first consideration that offers itself, is, that the question is certainly not of absolutely first-rate consequence. By this is meant that it has little, if any, direct bearing upon spiritual well-being. It is of no consequence to our souls' good, whether, for example, the story 'of the relations among Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Ishmael and Isaac is in strict accord with the actual facts of the case in every detail, so long as we get the spiritual truths which the inner sense of the story teaches, and of which the story itself is the vehicle. Whether the facts were or were not exactly as stated, whatever is serviceable to our spiritual life and eternal interests is contained solely in those spiritual truths, and not at all in the literal narrative.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 82 The question, therefore, though of importance, and even, in certain points of view, of great importance, is, from the standpoint of the purpose of Divine Revelation, as subserving man's welfare as an immortal being, of quite subsidiary moment. That purpose has never been better stated than by the Apostle Paul, in his Second Letter to Timothy (iii. 16): "All Scripture is inspired of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto every good work." Recognizing, then, that the question is only of subordinate importance, we may now address ourselves to its direct consideration.

The answer is furnished in the Scriptures themselves. Every one in any measure acquainted with them, knows that they consistently and persistently represent the Israelitish people and their fortunes, throughout their national career, as under not merely the general Providential care, but as under the direct and constant guidance and control, in even what look like trifling details, of Jehovah. So unmistakably is this the case, that the government depicted as obtaining amongst them, alike under Moses, Joshua, the;Judges and even the Kings, is, by universal consent, described as a "theocracy"--government by God.

It was amongst the people who stood in this unique relation to God, that God gave that portion of His Word, parabolically constructed, which had for its outer form the story of that people's career and relations with Himself.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 83 To those who accept the representations of those Scriptures, indeed, there can belittle doubt that one of the chief grounds of God's special concern with that people--an outstanding feature of their real significance in relation to the spiritual development of the human race, as a whole--was the fact that the Divine Word was given among them.

The position, therefore, is this: the doings and career of that people were under the direct control, shaping and government, even in matters of detail, of God: the God who, thus shaped their national course and development, gave among them- Divine Scriptures, parabolic in structure, the "outer form" of which was to consist of the story of that people, while its true significance--the real "Revelation"--was to reside in its inner meaning. Does it not, almost of necessity, follow, that their minutely guided national life would be thus minutely guided with a constant reference to the use that national life was to serve in the Divine Revelation which was' to be, and actually was all the while being, given among them? That this must have been so, seems to us to flow out of all the circumstances so naturally and irresistibly that it must commend itself to acceptance, if not immediately on being pointed out, at least on mature, rational and candid consideration.

This being the case, it is perfectly clear that the parabolic character of the Scriptures in no way militates against their trustworthiness as history, even in matters of detail; for the same God that gave these parabolic Scriptures was concurrently and all the while guiding, controlling and shaping the life of the people whose story was to constitute the outer form of the "parable."


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 84 The history given in the Scriptures therefore, in view of all these circumstances, may safely be relied upon as in all essentials entirely trustworthy. In a word, the things--all the things--related in them, may be taken as having happened.

It is conceivable, however, that:though they all happened, they may not all have happened exactly as related. An example will illustrate the point here intended. It is related in the Book of Joshua that, on the occasion of the battle between Israel and the five kings of the Amorites who besieged Gibeon, "the sun stood still in the midst of heaven and hasted not to go down about a whole day" (x. 13). Our principle involves that the circumstance recorded in these words actually happened--NOT NECESSARILY, however, exactly as related, that is, by any change in the customary movements of the sun, moon and earth, such as would produce the phenomenon witnessed; for "if this miracle had taken place altogether in this manner, it would have inverted the whole order of nature, which is not the case with the rest of the miracles in the Word. Nevertheless, that there was a light given from heaven, that looked to the Israelites like that of the sun upon Gibeon and t that of the moon in the valley of Ajalon, is not to be doubted."1


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 85 It is evident, also, that such a light, so appearing, could not be otherwise described than it actually is, although the explanation that the terms of the record seem to imply, is not the true explanation. The narrative relates what was seen as it was seen, simply; and is not really concerned with any explanation of it. In this case, the historicity of the record is not at all impaired by the fact that the miracle related did not occur exactly in the way in which the narrative explains it. The substantial historical fact, is, that a miracle occurred, which, to those who witnessed it (unaware, probably, that any "miracle" was occurring at all), had the appearance depicted in the relation.

1 Swedenborg: Apocalypse Explained, n. 401.

In the New Testament, the history is not that of the Israelitish people, or even of the Jews of the day, though the latter figure largely in it; it is the history of the Lord' and Savior Jesus Christ, or the visible humanity in which the One Eternal God--"the Everlasting Father" (Isa. ix. 6)--came into the world for the salvation of men. Not, evidently, a complete history, but rather a general view of the most important periods of the Life treated of, in which certain particulars and aspects of commanding moment are given special prominence. Unlike the Old Testament histories, this is of intrinsic importance and of spiritual significance and interest; and many of the historical facts are, in the nature of the case, at the same time spiritual doctrines and revealed truths. Such is the case, conspicuously, with the historical fact of what is called the Virgin Birth."


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 86 If that is not a historical fact, it is not a spiritual doctrine: if it is historical fact, it is at once also spiritual doctrine and revealed truth; for no person whatever could possibly know, of a certainty, that the case was as the Gospels (Matt. i. 18; Luke i. 34, 35) state, unless it were revealed. Joseph must know (as. it is testified in Matthew, that he did) that he was not the father: Mary must know, as she did, that the case was as she declared to the angel (Luke i. 34); but neither of them, nor any other human being in all time, could know that "that which was conceived in Mary was OFTHE. HOLY GHOST" (Matt. i. 20)--the gist of the whole matter--except it were revealed from above. The historicity of the Gospel narrative, therefore, is of incomparably greater moment than is the historicity of the Old Testament records.

But, since the authenticity of the Old Testament histories is guaranteed to us by the direct Divine government of the Israelitish people; much more, it should seem, must the authenticity of the Gospel story be guaranteed by the fact that the Life whose story is recorded is that of God Himself on earth as Man. All that was done and said in that humanity which was "God manifest in the flesh," was said and done--not, strictly, "by" it as agent, but in and by means of it as instrument: "The Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works" (John xiv. 10). The real doer b was the "Father," namely, GOD, that dwelt in the humanity as its soul. The case was just as with the soul and body in man.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 87 Here, the body is not the agent, or doer, of the things said and done in and by means of it: the real agent and doer is the soul that "dwells in" the body. Every such thing, consequently, in the case of Jesus, so said and done, was the outward manifestation and ultimate expression of the mind and life of GOD, "the Father" dwelling within. And because thus FROM GOD, "the Father," dwelling within that unique humanity, as n no other humanity before or since, all that the Lord Jesus Christ said and did outwardly was representative,1 of the necessity of the case, of the Divine and spiritual things and acts which constituted His inward life, and thus the real Divine, and in itself ineffable, work of Redemption, and therefore signified those internal Divine and spiritual things and acts, and that Work. The outward life of Jesus in the world, consequently, was already in itself a Divine parable. The very Divine acts, themselves, of Redemption, whereby we were "delivered out of the hand of our enemies," and enabled, of consequence, to "serve the Lord with fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all, he days of our life" (Luke i. 74, 75), were, we may rest assured, enacted in a more interior sphere, and on a higher plane, than those of this world. The things here enacted could be, in the nature of the case, but the very outermost fringe of the unspeakably tremendous and ineffable drama of the real Redemptive work: an outwardly-lived "parable" of the real Divine labors by which God wrought Redemption for His people.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 88 So truly and completely, indeed, did the outward life of Jesus in the world flow from the inward life and operation of the Divine Father within, that the very Jews themselves, in their treatment of the visible Jesus, were unconsciously representing, in acted "parable," their inward attitude towards, and treatment of, "the Word" of which He was the Incarnation, and of God, that "the Word" WAS (John i. 1).

1 See Swedenborg's Apocalypse Explained, n. 405.

The Lord's life itself in the flesh, being, then, already a "parable" of His life in the Spirit--the Spirit, namely, of His assumed humanity--because inwardly Divine, the story of it would not need to be modified by any departure from the actual historical facts, in order to serve the parabolic purposes of the Divine Word. The historical aspect of the Gospel story, as such, therefore, may be relied upon not less than that of the Old Testament histories, but distinctly more.

An apparent exception, it is true, must be made in the case of the contradictory genealogies of Jesus. This is only apparently an exception, however; for the genealogies are not, clearly, any part of His life and doings, and are, consequently, not affected by the considerations just passed in review. They involve only, on any assumption, His ancestry--a distinct thing altogether from His life. Strictly, they do not involve His actual ancestry: they do not even profess to do so; for, in immediate connection with each of them, the point is expressly brought out that Jesus was not the son of Joseph; and the ancestry is avowedly Josephs--not Mary's, whose son it is stated that He was.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 89 The ancestry is simply Jesus's "legal" ancestry, and is manifestly the only ancestry that could have been given of Him for legal purposes, or purposes of registration, etc.: the ancestry of the head of the house in which He was, as to His human nature, a son. It is always well to assure ourselves of the precise character of any difficulty with which we have to deal, before dealing with it.

But this being the only genealogy possibly assignable to Jesus in the circumstances so perspicuously related of His real parentage in connection with each of them, had only one genealogical table been given, or had two agreeing tables been set before us, it would have been open to us to accept it (or them) as historical-recognizing all the while, however, as we are bound to do, that, even so, it (or they) could have no actual bearing upon the ancestry of Jesus. The interest of the genealogy would, then, lie solely in the relation existing between Joseph--whose true ancestry it would, in that case, have been--and Jesus, through Joseph's being the husband of Mary, whose son, not by Joseph but by "the Power of the Highest" (Luke i. 35), Jesus was.

But there is not only one table. Nor do the two tables that are given agree with one another. Nor, again, do they differ in such a way that a reconciliation of their differences is even conceivably possible.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 90 They are, do the contrary, so utterly and absolutely conflicting and irreconcilable, as to virtually proclaim themselves unhistorical, and therefore--by inference--to be not historically meant.

The question has frequently been asked, about these genealogies, by those who do not believe the Gospel accounts of the birth of Jesus, If Jesus was not the son of Joseph, why, in the name of common sense, should Joseph's genealogy be associated with Him at all? This question has been answered (in part, at all events) above. The question may now be asked, Since, from these genealogies, it cannot be known what even Joseph's real--and Jesus's "legal"--ancestry was, what conceivable reason can be assigned for their inclusion in the Word of God? If either is historically true, we cannot know which what we do know is that one, at any rate, is historically untrue: Why should one historically untrue genealogy have been given at all? If both are historically untrue, as seems probable, why, more than ever, should two untrue genealogies have been given? And what, in such a situation,, becomes of the notion that we have here the Word of God?

From the customary standpoint there can be no denying that these questions are unanswerable. But, from the new standpoint, the standpoint of the Divine Word itself, that it is "parable" throughout, how different is the situation! From that, we know that, even if both genealogies were true, their real significance, as inspired Scripture, would lie, not in the genealogies themselves but in the inner sense.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 91 Now the inner sense remains, unaffected, as the real meaning, even though neither genealogy, as such, be true the genealogies were given, not for their own sake but for the sake of the inner sense they contain; and finally, the genealogies differ because the spiritual truth to be parabolically represented by them,1 is different in the two parts of the Word in which they respectively occur.

1 For the Spiritual Sense in this case, given in the course of an extended discussion of the whole question, the reader may consult the present author's essay on "The Two Genealogies of Jesus Christ" in his work The Star in the East and Other Studies in Doctrine and Spiritual interpretation, obtainable from the publishers hereof.

To sum up. While, from the new standpoint, the real and true Divinity of the Word is not imperiled, or even affected, by the presence of historical or even doctrinal inaccuracies in the Letter, nevertheless, from the beginning of actual history in the call of Abram, onwards, the circumstances relating to its histories in both Old and New Testaments justify us in regarding them with complete confidence, except where very clear intimations pointing to non-historicity appear; and that the doctrinal statements of the Letter; even though they also have an "inner meaning" by which they are even more exaltedly true and spiritual, are to be accepted as true, and in that case as DIVINELY AUTHORITATIVE, unless it is known, on some other ground, that any specific statement of a doctrinal character is not genuine truth, in the exact form in which it is there set forth.



7.--The "Letter," or Outer Form.
NOW that it has become evident that the parabolic character of the Divine Word does not preclude the giving of true doctrine in its "outer form" as well as in its "inner meaning," we are brought face to face with a new set of problems, different in kind from any that have yet confronted us.

For example: there is no sign that the writers of the Old Testament Scriptures understood what they wrote in any other sense than the merely literal, or so much as had the least idea--save in the single instance of the 78th Psalm--that it had any other sense; and, in the case of this one exception, there is no appearance that the inner meaning of the contents of the Psalm was known to its writer, but simply that he was moved by the Holy Spirit to commence the Psalm in that particular way. This seems as far as one can safely go.

In these circumstances, questions such as the following arise:

(1) Of what use is a revelation whose real meaning lies in its "inner sense," unless the inner sense is given with it?


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 93 (2) Why is it, that, in those parts where the "outer form" is of a doctrinal, or religious, character, the doctrine, or the revelation, is not always genuinely true, and thus valid for all time? Admitting the parabolic character of the revelation, was it impossible for the "outer form" to express genuine truth in all parts, as well as in some parts? If not impossible, why was it not done? (3) Does not the presentation of genuine truth in some places and not in others, seriously derogate from the teaching value of the revelation? For, how were--and how are--men to know what is genuine truth and what is not? (4) What are we to make of the crowning perplexity that the religion of Israel, given under express Divine enactment, was so purely and merely external, formal, ceremonial and admittedly unspiritual and incapable of putting away sin,1 that it has had, since, to be abrogated, in practically its whole extent? Is not the prescription of such a religion, a serious argument against the Divinity of the Scriptures that prescribe it?-for, in this case, it is not merely a parabolic writing that is involved, but a religion, enjoined upon men and women for observance in their daily lives. (5) And, finally, does not the parabolic character of the Word necessitate the giving, at some time, of a further revelation to make known its "inner sense"--since that sense was not given with it? or, alternatively, is there any other way of arriving at it?

1 See Heb. x. 4; also ver. i of that chapter.



The gravity of these questions, and equally their inevitableness, there can be no disputing, nor yet the imperative necessity that they be answered. Let us, then, face them, forthwith--one by one, in the order above set forth.

(i) Of what use is a "Revelation," the real meaning of which lies in its inner sense, unless that inner sense is given with it---as was, clearly, not the case with our Old Testament Scriptures? The answer, in a sentence, is: to educate men in spiritual and Divine things, and, so, to lead them gradually on, to a stage at which they would be able to enter into the profounder truths that constitute the "inner sense."

It is at once and freely admitted that a Revelation of such a character would have been of no use unless the inner sense had been given with it, in the event of no genuine truth of a religious order having been contained anywhere but in its "inner sense." But, from the very beginning of the giving of these Scriptures, such genuine truth, in matters of real moment for the purposes of salvation, had been included as an integral part of its "outer form." The earliest-given installment of the Word was not the first chapter-or any chapter--of Genesis; it was what is called the "Book of the Covenant" (see Exod, xxiv. 7), consisting of the Law of the Decalogue and the immediately succeeding legislation and admonition, and constituting Chapters xx. To xxiii. of the Book of Exodus. According to the record, this portion was not only first given, but it was at once written down (Exod. xxiv. 4); and, so written, was, as
Stated, the first of the long series of Divine communications in the form of law, history, prophecy and psalm which constitute the Old Testament Scriptures.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 95 And in the forefront of this, the first fruits of the Word, stands the clear declaration that Jehovah is God, and the express command that He only must be worshipped as God; and this initial genuine truth and obligation is followed by the likewise genuine truths of the moral law, observance of which was made, and thenceforth has remained, by virtue of their adoption by Jehovah and their being imposed upon Israel as His commandments, a matter of religion, and not merely of good citizenship and sound morality. The succeeding contributions contain, in the historical (or other) setting that constitute the bulk of the Letter of the Old Testament, numerous further revelations of religious truth, perfectly genuine as far as it goes; and, from beginning to end, very much of this description may be found sprinkled, as it were, over the pages of those Scriptures, for him to take who has eyes to see and heart to desire.

The effect of this characteristic of the outer form of the Scriptures, upon those to whom they originally came, or to whom they ever have come, has been, and must have been, that, as men have advanced, spiritually, morally and intellectually, they have discerned and assimilated more and more of these genuine religious truths that are there, and have thus been progressively, however slowly, led on to higher and higher levels of understanding and discernment, until, at length, they may reach a standard at which the brighter glories of the inner sense itself, can be grasped, and hence communicated.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 96 The use, therefore, of a parabolic Revelation, constructed on the lines on which our Scriptures are constructed, is to gradually and successively educate those to whom they came, up to such a level of spiritual knowledge and intelligence, that, eventually, they may be admitted even into the deeper truths of the inner sense, and thus into the real and essential meaning of the Word itself. Fashioned as it is, the Letter is a schoolmaster to bring men ultimately to the Spiritwhen they are able to bear it (John xvi. 12).

(2) But why is not the religion, or doctrine, always genuinely true, and thus valid for all time, instead of being, in many instances, not so? Was (or is) there anything in the fact that the Revelation is parable, that makes it impossible for the outer form to express genuine truth in all parts, as well as in some parts? And, if not impossible, why was this not done?

In reply to this demand, it may be conceded, as a general truth, that there is nothing in the mere parabolic character of the Divine Word, to make it impossible for the religion, or doctrine, of the Letter, to be genuinely true in all cases. This almost follows from the fact that, in so many parts, genuine truth is expressed in the Letter, and that the Word is parabolic in those places, as well as, and as much as, in the others.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 97 But, apart from this, genuine truth would have served the purpose of a parable of the inner meaning, in most of these cases also, had men been sufficiently advanced in spiritual intelligence to be able to rise to the conception of the particular genuine truth concerned, and been able and willing to receive it: It is, and it always has been, the fact that men were not sufficiently advanced to grasp, and hence to believe, the genuine truth--and not the parabolic nature of the Revelation--that has made the employment of statements not genuinely true, inevitable in some cases. For the full significance and force of this position, we shall have to await the chapter on "Inspiration." In the meantime, it must be set forth somewhat more fully, and its application shown to the actual circumstances under which the Old Testament Scriptures were given.

Our Lord Himself declared the truth we have just announced, when He said to His disciples, at the close of His earthly ministry, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now" (John xvi. 12). And, in so saying, He was laying down the universal principle that governs, and at all times has governed, Divine Revelation. This principle is that only that can be given, which, men are at some measure capable of appreciating and receiving, at the time of its being given.

It might seem that, in a Divine Book, anything could be given, whether men were able to receive it or not, and that, though they might not be able to receive it when given, they would be able at some future time, and that it could quite well await the time when they should be able.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 98 There is much in this suggestion; and, in point of fact, much of the genuine truth we have in the Letter of the Word is thus in advance of the receptivity of the men to whom it in the first instance came. It is a well-known fact, for example, that great part of the genuine truth contained in the Old Testament was not understood, or not truly understood, until the Gospel was proclaimed by the Lord and to some extent assimilated by His disciples. Then, however, the Old Testament could be looked upon in the light of the Gospel, and the true import of many things, long familiar as a form of words but not before discerned as to their real significance, shone forth, luminous with manifest truth; and the words enshrining it were seen to be the expression of genuine spiritual truth. As we say, this has been the case to quite a large extent. For all that, some genuine truths will be too far in advance of present attainment, too openly and radically at variance with the present standpoint, to make this possible. Were this not so, our Lord's words now running in our minds, would not be the expression of a necessity, but only of an arbitrary, though possibly wise, decree. But, so truly is what they announce the necessity of the case, that all germane experience testifies, that for a teacher, in some, stages of his pupils' attainment, to insist upon, or even to state, except in so inconspicuous a manner as to evade notice, certain unquestionable truths, would not only fail to secure their acceptance, but would entail a grave risk of bringing about the rejection of the whole, of which this unacceptable, though unquestionably genuine, and even intrinsically precious, truth is a part.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 99 There are many things, therefore, that the true educator, who does not wish to invite the utter overthrow and irremediable ruin of what he has so far accomplished, has to hold back, until such time as they can be usefully, or even safely, brought out. And, in spiritual education, this is the case preeminently. It cannot, therefore, be doubted that the withholding of the "many things" of which the Lord speaks, was a necessity: not, of course, that He could not, as a matter of possibility, have announced them, but that His doing so would have been detrimental to, and even subversive of, the end in view, and so, impossible to His Infinite Wisdom.

It may seem, again, that though it might be necessary, at any particular juncture, or stage, of man's spiritual development, to withhold genuine truths, that is not altogether what we are concerned with, but with the putting forth of things that are not genuinely true. That comes, it would appear, dangerously near affirming untruth; and, surely, there could be no necessity for that? Surely, even, in a Divine Revelation, it could not be done? In a Divine Revelation which was not "parable," it could not be done, we admit; but, in a Revelation which is parable, things could be tolerated, for the sake of the inner meaning to be some day given, that could not have been tolerated in any other case.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 100 Reflection will show that this is a consideration that might well make all the difference. For, after all, the real meaning, purpose and intent of a "parabolic" writing is the inner meaning, and not the outer; and although, in framing the "Letter," genuine truth has been employed as far as ever all the circumstances involved admit, when genuine truth cannot be utilized, the nearest approximation to genuine truth that is practicable, is admissible and even imperative. While, therefore, the parabolic character of the Scriptures is not, in all cases, at any rate, what made it impossible that genuine truth should be employed in every instance in the parts of the Letter in which spiritual and Divine things are dealt with, the fact of the Word's being parabolic would make the inclusion of statements not in themselves genuinely true, admissible, in view of the "inner meaning" contained in them, and to be sometime laid open.

It is, for example, frequently declared, as noted on a former occasion, that Jehovah "repented" of good and of evil that He purposed and had threatened. To the Jews, no doubt, that way of putting the matter presented no difficulties. To them, that was genuine truth! To us, however, it is an impossibility. We know that God cannot possibly be the subject of such infirmity as a change of mind, or of purpose just because He is God, and therefore absolutely incapable of any infirmity or imperfection whatever.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 101 It is scarcely credible, however, that the Israelitish mind of that day was able, with its gross and crude conceptions of God, and of "gods," to rise to such a conception. It would not only see no difficulty in the idea that God should repent; but insistence upon the genuine truth would have been, to them, the affirmation of a plain falsity, so radically contrary to all their ideas and ways of thinking on such subjects, as to have undermined, or even have destroyed, their confidence in everything else in the Scriptures that contained it. In that case, the Jews would have been plunged back into the outer darkness out of which God was leading them--not for their own sake merely, but for the sake of those future generations of the human race at large to which those Scriptures were to be handed down, and which should be able, in the fullness of time, to "bear" the communication of their spiritual sense.

(1) The effect of the presentation of genuine truth in some places and not in others on the teaching value of the Revelation. It might seem that this effect must be detrimental. So far, however, was this from 'being the case, as regards the people among whom the revelation was in the first instance given, that (as we have, indeed, just seen) its teaching value was enhanced by, and even, to a great extent, due to, that very characteristic. Had it not been present--had those Scriptures, that is to say, not contained many false appearances of truth--the Israelitish people of the time of the Exodus would infallibly have rejected them altogether.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 102 This is no dogmatic assertion, directed at that particular people: it is of the necessity of the case that then existed. With any people, and in- relation to any subject, the prominent declaration of any principle, howsoever true, running violently counter to what the people concerned happened to regard as true--howsoever fallacious, in reality, that might be--especially in points considered by them as fundamental or, radical, must, inevitably, in their eyes, hopelessly discredit the teacher, or the book, proclaiming the offending principle. In other words, accommodation, on the part of the teacher, to the state and present attainments of the taught, is, by the laws of the human mind, absolutely indispensable to success much error must often, for the time being, be tolerated, without censure or even comment, and the time patiently awaited when the truth can be brought out and the error put away. In a parabolic Revelation, as we have seen, this could be done, without any departure from truthfulness, by wrapping up the genuine truth as an "inner sense" in an "outer form" of erroneous, or even, in itself, false statement--which erroneous statement would be the fallacious appearance which the truth inwardly contained presents to the minds of the people among whom the Revelation is given.

Our point, however, is that, to that people, the admixture of truth and error in the outer form, instead of derogating from the teaching value of the Revelation, actually gave it its teaching value in the first instance, by conserving its credit as a teacher.



And, even in connection with contradictory statements on the same point of truth, one set affirming, for instance--to recall our former example--that God performs specific acts of repentance, and the other that God does not and cannot repent, the statements that He cannot would not arrest attention because their true force would not be perceived. Consequently, the contradiction between the two sets of statements would not appear! Such contradiction only arrests attention, and thus creates difficulty, when men have attained to the genuine truth on the subject; and the difficulty then felt, is, not that of doubt as to which set of statements is the genuine truth, but of bringing into question the trustworthiness of the document that has declared the opposite. It becomes a question, in other words, not as to whether God did "repent" on the alleged occasions: the person in the genuine truth knows that to be impossible; but as to the Divinity of the Book that says He did!

No doubt, there are cases in which the issue is not so simple, in which it is not so easy to determine which of;two, or more, conflicting statements (or sets of statements) are genuinely true and which are not. In such eases, how are men to know which are true--thus, which they are to believe-and which not?


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 104 The answer is: By collecting all the statements, of whatever kind and purport, that bear on the subject, bringing them together in one view, carefully comparing Scripture with Scripture, and then eliciting the general tenor of all taken together, or selecting, from amongst all, thus simultaneously viewed, that which commends itself as the truth by its own self-evidencing virtue, or its coherence with truth already known. Facing the situation candidly, and in a teachable spirit, weighing all the evidence obtainable, under the influence of love of and desire for the truth, whatever that may prove to be, together with a looking to the Lord for Divine guidance, will rarely lead the sincerely truth-seeking soul astray, and never seriously so. The student of the Word will thus be "taught of God"; and, in the process, he will often, if not always, find, that the truth to which he is eventually led, sheds an unexpected light upon the utterances which, at first, perhaps, appeared wholly inconsistent with it. The presence of statements not genuinely true, therefore, does not, as a matter of experience, impair the teaching value of the Word at all. Given the will to know the truth, and the diligence to seek it faithfully by bestowing the labor required; given, also, a mind enlightened by a sincere love of truth born of a life according to God's will and commandments-given these conditions, the truth will surely, in larger or less measure, be brought to light.

(4) The difficulty presented by the giving, under Divine enactment, of a religion of such a character as that instituted among the Israelites.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 105 This difficulty is two-fold: How is it possible that such a religion could be prescribed by God? and, Is not, therefore, the prescription of such a religion a serious argument against the Divinity of the Scriptures that prescribe it?

We know what that religion was. It consisted, as regards the vast bulk of it, of rites and ceremonies of the most various and minute, and even in some cases trivial,1 character, which, in their own nature, were often possessed of no spiritual quality whatever, and which it is impossible for a rational-mind, at this day, to believe were ever possessed of any spiritual value. These rituals were largely variations on the central idea, of worship by means of sacrifices and offerings. The sacrifices consisted of certain specified animals and birds, killed at, and burned (or roasted) upon, an altar, and other articles of food and drink presented at it. The sacrifices are represented as God's food, or "bread" (Mal. i. 7, 8); gifts were presented, 'animals slain and offered, and their blood shed and sprinkled, and other formalities of a similar nature prescribed "to make atonement for the souls" of the worshippers (Exod. xxx. 15; Lev. xvii. 11; Num. xxviii. 22, 30, and many other places), and for purification from their sins (Num. xix. 9, 17); the scapegoat, to take a concrete instance, "bare away their iniquities to a land not inhabited" (Lev. xvi. 21-22)--objects which the common sense of mankind, today, almost spontaneously recognizes as, truly, the only conceivable objects of a spiritual religion.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 106 That same common sense, however, scarcely needs to be told that "the blood of bulls and goats cannot put away sins" (Heb. x. 4), or gifts and sacrifices "make him that did the service perfect as pertaining to the conscience" (Heb. ix. 9), any more than can the "meats, and drinks, and divers washings and carnal ordinances" (Heb. ix. 10) that were observed among that people as religious obligations. And the notion that these slaughtered and roasted animals were the "food" of God, and that His nostrils were gratified and delighted with the smell-the "sweet savor," as the Scripture phrase runs-of roast flesh that ascended from the altar (Exod. xxix. 18, 25, and many other places), is so gross and degrading that everything in us revolts against it, and nothing could bring us to believe it to be really true. Incidentally, it is one of the most convincing testimonies to the low and abject spiritual level of the Israelitish people in Old Testament times, that they could, and unquestionably did, regard all these things as literally, and not merely-indeed, not at all-parabolically, true!
1e.g. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in its mother's milk"--given three times over (Exod. xxiii. 19; xxxiv. 26; Deut. xiv. 2 1).

What are we to make of the enactment of such a religion by God?--and of the Scriptures that, in the name of God, prescribe the religion in such detail?

We are to begin by recognizing, that, though apparently "prescribed" and "commanded," these things are, in reality, only tolerated and regulated, in the Old Testament Scriptures.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 107 That they were not, in themselves, acceptable to Jehovah, is abundantly testified in the Old Testament itself. Call to mind, for example, the prophetic disclaimer of Micah "Wherewith shall I come before Jehovah, and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will Jehovah be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath showed thee, O man, WHAT IS GOOD; and what doth the Lord REQUIRE of thee, BUT to do justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God?" (Mic. vi, 6-8.) A disclaimer which we, indeed, understand absolutely, but which, without question, the old-time Israelite, while accepting, understood only relatively--thus, in the sense of Samuel's denunciation to Saul: "Hath Jehovah AS GREAT delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, AS in obeying the voice of Jehovah? Behold, to obey is BETTER than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams" (I Sam. xv. 22). In the same relative and qualified sense, too, they would understand the Psalmist's, "Thou desirest not sacrifice, else would I give it: Thou delightest not in burnt, offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise" (Ps. li. 16, 17); and again, "Sacrifice and offering Thou didst not desire; mine ears hast Thou opened; burnt offering and sin offering Thou hast not required" (Ps. xl. 6);


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 108 and, also, Hosea's, "I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings" (Hos. vi. 6). Nevertheless, that the disclaimer properly carries its absolute meaning, and not merely the modified and extenuated one which was the utmost that the Israelitish mind of Old Testament times could rise to, every enlightened Christian, we may say every rational man and woman, at this day, is well assured.

The obvious conclusion from all these testimonies, in a word, is, that, although God accepted and tolerated the formalities--and in some instances almost puerilities-that passed for "religious" observances under the Jewish dispensation, they were not according to His WILL; and that what He really did "require" --but, from that people, as a people, largely in vain--were the truly spiritual virtues, humble though they mostly were, which we, almost spontaneously and universally, recognize as the essential constituents of any real religion.

There is, also, the Lord's own very express teaching, conveyed in the mere substitution of one word for another, when the Pharisees demanded of him whether "it was lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause," and, on Jesus replying to the effect that divorce was not really right in the sight of God at all, but certainly not on the many and frivolous pretexts that sufficed for it among the Jews, they asked Him further, "Why then did Moses command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?"


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 109 Jesus answered, "Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts SUFFERED you to put away your wives, but front the beginning it was not so" (Matt. xix. 8). "Suffered!" "Because of the hardness of your hearts!" "From the beginning it was NOT so!" It was not according to the order of creation; thus not the Divine will and wish; not what God would have had; but was "suffered," permitted, tolerated;" because of the hardness of their hearts," because they could not have been brought to conform themselves to that true order of things; and yet--God having taken them in hand for the benefit of the human race, had to do something with them--what could be done? He could only "suffer" innumerable things which He would have had otherwise, to the end that mankind, through the Israelitish people, might be led, eventually, to a point at which they could render Him such a worship as He willed. "God is a Spirit; and they that worship Him must worship Him IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH" (John iv. 24).

The single utterance of the Lord Jesus Christ just passed in review, is the key to the whole of the Old Testament religion! And, thus, "the law," i. e. the Mosaic system, was merely "a shadow" of "the good things to come," that is, of the true spiritual religion and worship which the Lord Jesus Christ, in the fullness of time, brought to light: "suffered," permitted, tolerated and regulated--not "prescribed"--on account of "the hardness of their hearts," that Is, of their low and perverse spiritual state, for the sake of bringing mankind, by the means of that people, up to those things that God really "requires" of them (Micah vi. 8).



But, in order that we may adequately, or, even approximately, gauge the depth of the necessity for this permission and toleration, on the part of God, of the really unspiritual "religion," so called, that existed among this people, it is necessary that a truer estimate of their actual religious quality as a race, than is by any means general, be obtained.

The most commonly-accepted view on this matter, is that the Israelites of old, from Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the tribal patriarchs down to the rank and file of the nation that descended from them, were a peculiarly holy and spiritually-minded people, and chosen' by God as His peculiar people on that account. It is, too, one of the most admired commonplaces of the school of thought that considers itself peculiarly entitled to rank as "advanced;" that, just as the Greeks had a genius for art, and the Romans for law. and government, so the Hebrews, or, to be more exact, the Israelites, had "a genius for religion." Nothing could well be farther from the truth.

As regards the former of these ideas, it is expressly repudiated by the Jewish Scriptures themselves "Speak not thou in thine heart, saying, For my righteousness Jehovah hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations, Jehovah doth drive them out from before thee.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 111 NOT for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land; but for the wickedness of these nations Jehovah thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that He may perform the word which Jehovah sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Understand, therefore, that Jehovah thy God giveth thee NOT this good land to possess it for thy righteousness FOR THOU ART A STIFF-NECKED PEOPLE" (Deut. ix. 4-6). And the remainder of that chapter is made up of a series of proofs from their history of this emphatic and heavy indictment.

As to their alleged "genius for religion," the Israelitish people at the time that the earlier portions of the Scriptures were given among them, were, in the first place, in a state of spiritual ignorance that may be described as almost absolute, and always remained singularly backward in that respect. The portions here in question were given during the years immediately, following their deliverance from .their many generations of dwelling in the land of Egypt. From the going down of the first of their stock, their great ancestor, Abram, into that country--albeit, only on a visit--to the time of their emergence from it, a nation, under the leadership of Moses, was 430 years: from the time of the descent into it, of the ancestor from whom their nation took its name "Israel," or Jacob--with all his descendants then living, to dwell there, was 215 years. At no time, had they, or their ancestors, stood high in the scale of spiritual knowledge or worship.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 112 Abram himself was an idolater in "the land of his nativity," Mesopotamia, before Jehovah appeared to him in Haran and commanded him to make his home in the land which was to become the fatherland of his descendants, and made Himself more fully known to him in subsequent appearings. His descendants through Jacob, were idolaters during at any rate great part of the time of their sojourn of 215 years in Egypt; and they carried their idolatrous habits with them out of Egypt, falling away into idolatry, at more or less frequent intervals, during the whole course of their national existence in their own land. In the Northern Kingdom, indeed, the idolatry of the golden calf was deliberately set up, as the official worship, by the first sovereign of the separated kingdom, and maintained by all his successors. This was the chief among "the sins of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin" (2 Kings xiv. 24. and many other places);.by leading them into idolatry by this means.

The idolatrous antecedents of the Israelites are set forth by Joshua, thus: "Thus saith Jehovah, God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood1 in old time, Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and THEY SERVED OTHER GODS.... Now, therefore, fear Jehovah, and serve Him in sincerity and in truth; and put away THE GODS WHICH YOUR FATHERS SERVED on the other side of the flood, AND IN EGYPT; and serve ye Jehovah" (Josh. xxiv. 2, 14).


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 113 So completely were they immersed in idolatry and spiritual ignorance in Egypt, that the knowledge or even the name of Jehovah, the true God, had perished among them; and so inrooted were their idolatrous proclivities, that, even while the miracles by which Jehovah, by the hand of Moses and Aaron, had delivered them from their Egyptian bondage must have been fresh in their memories, and immediately after Jehovah had given them the Decalogue amid the miraculous portents of Sinai, and while Moses was actually in the mount receiving further commandments, statutes and judgments from Jehovah, this people approached Aaron with a demand that he should "make them gods"--a demand to which he readily, and without a word of remonstrance even, acceded (Ex. xxxii. 1-6), saying, when he set up the calf he had made, to be worshipped, "These be thy gods, O Israel, that brought thee out of the land of Egypt" (ver..4)!

1 i. e. the river Euphrates, on "the other side," of which Mesopotamia, Abram's native place, was situated.

So far, also, were this spiritually ignorant and idolatrously disposed people from displaying any "genius for religion" in the form, at least, of aptness at learning it, that to them, Jehovah was, and for hundreds of years continued to be, but one god out of many; and, though the religion taught them by Jehovah expressly forbade the worship of any other gods, and, under it, faithfulness to this fundamental requirement was rewarded by national prosperity, and unfaithfulness punished by national adversity, so stubborn were they in their idolatrous propensities, that these were never wholly eradicated until the great Exile.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 114 Then, indeed--but nearly 1,000 years after Jehovah had made Himself known to them through Moses, brought them up out of Egypt, adopted them as His peculiar people, and unceasingly inculcated and enforced upon them, by miracle, reward and punishment, the highest religion of which they were capable--then, indeed, they seem to have got at last cured of their idolatry, and to have learned the lesson Jehovah had been teaching them through all those weary centuries, that there was only One God, and that that God was He, Jehovah, Himself. "There is no God else beside Me: a just God and a Savior; there is none beside Me. Look unto Me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else" (Isa. xlv. 21-22).

The present problem, however, concerns less the God (or gods) worshipped, than the form of worship itself, in one comprehensive term, the "sacrificial." The sacrificial form, or mode, of worship, archaeological science demonstrates, in general, and even as to nearly all details as well, was common to all the idolatries of the time. Not in Egypt only, but among all the tribes of Canaan, and in all the surrounding Asiatic countries was the "bloody sacrifice," as it is termed, the uniform mode of worship; and in most of them, in at any rate circumstances of special importance, even human sacrifice was resorted to.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 115 There can be little doubt that Abraham's temptation to sacrifice Isaac was the recrudescence of a practice to which the people among whom he had spent his earlier years, in his Chaldean home, were addicted; and from the mental associations of that survival, he imagined, even then, that such a sacrifice,,' be peculiarly acceptable to Jehovah, as it was universally supposed to be to other gods. Certain it is, at all events, that to the entire religious world of that day no other mode of worship than the sacrificial, or at least no mode that did not include sacrifice as an essential feature, was known. "Worship" could not be conceived of apart from sacrifice, and burnt or other offering. The two ideas were so nearly identical in the minds of all men and nations at that day, as to be inseparable. This was the notion of worship, without doubt, that the Israelites had brought with them out of Egypt; it was the notion that existed with all other peoples: for them, therefore, there was no other notion. And most assuredly, to them, a worship that did not include sacrifice and an elaborate sacrificial ritual, would have been no "worship"; and any attempt to teach them otherwise, then, would have been the merest beating of the air. But little imagination is needed to enable any one who will endeavor to conceive the situation in his mind, to perceive that such an attempt, with a people so situated; must have resulted, not in giving them a genuine worship, but in destroying the very idea of worship, for them, altogether.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 116 That there might be any hope of bringing them, and other nations, embracing the world-wide human race in future ages, one single step towards the "worship in spirit and in truth" which God of necessity desiderates, it was clearly indispensable to "suffer," for the time, the sacrificial mode of worship, and various other features, even of a moral quality, that accompanied that mode of worship in that day.

But the multitudinous and burdensome ritual of sacrificial and other observance that Jehovah prescribed by the ceremonial law---what of that? That was of the nature, in regard to civil and moral relations, of restriction and limitation-not, properly speaking, of prescription. Such was the case, for example, in the law that "a writing of divorcement" must be given in the case of a wife being put away, "for whatever cause." At the first, the "causes" seem not to have been directly interfered with; but the prescription of "a writing of divorcement," of itself, no doubt, tended at once to prevent the thing being done absolutely without "cause," or (later) without more or less grave cause, and thus-tended, we say--to the ultimate limitation, announced for the first time by our Lord Himself, to the one "cause," of adultery (Matt. xix. 9). It is in such wise and effectual ways that the Divine Providence leads men on by "suffering," for the time, what, on account of the "hardness of men's hearts" cannot without disastrous results be abolished immediately, to the goal It has had in view for them, from the first.



Similarly, with the sacrificial mode of so-called "worship." At the first it had to be "suffered," because of the risk of otherwise destroying the sentiment of worship and of religion in men's minds, altogether but, to-day, so completely has this false notion of the nature of worship been extirpated from, the mind of that portion of the human race that has come under the influence of the Hebrew Scriptures, that not even, one supposes, a Jew of the Jews, could now desire to revert to it!

This principle, and these facts, then, in view of the spiritual condition and circumstances of the Israelitish people when their religion was first instituted, fully explain its peculiar character, and shows how imperative it was, that, notwithstanding its unspiritual quality, it should be "suffered," or permitted, and even provisionally adopted by God, for them. The question of how such a religion, or such forms of worship, ever came to be in existence at all, and to be regulated in exactly the way that it was in the religion of Israel, is a further problem, the full discussion of which must be postponed to a subsequent chapter.1

1 Chap. 1: Correspondences and Representatives, below.

It may be remarked, in closing, that this question of the peculiar character of the worship instituted with this people, puts on exactly the same complexion, in its own sphere, as the question of the inclusion in the Scriptures of doctrine not genuinely true, previously discussed. The underlying principle in the two cases is identical; the only difference is, that the sphere here involved is that of worship: there, it was that of doctrine.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 118 And the fact which has been already indicated, needs to be distinctly recognized, viz., that, in adopting the Israelitish people, and making them the repository of His Divine Word, and certain men among them the instruments of its communication, God was concerned not for that people only, or indeed, for that people, for its own sake, at all, but for the human race; and that He aimed not merely at imparting spiritual truth for the enlightenment of men's minds, but of eventually leading them into a genuine religion, and a real spiritual worship of "the only true God" (John xvii. 3) as the indispensable conditions of true spiritual life.

"The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father SEEKETH SUCH TO WORSHIP Him. God is a Spirit; and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth" (John iv. 23, 24).

(5): To the remaining questions, Does not the "parabolic" character of the Old and New Testament Scriptures necessitate the giving, at some future time, of a further revelation to make known its inner sense--inasmuch as that sense was not given with it? or alternatively, is there any other way of arriving at that sense?--to these questions the answer is that there can be no other- way of certainly knowing what the "inner sense" is, than the giving, at some time, of a further revelation-which must be non-parabolic in characterby Him who alone knows what that sense is; and, moreover, the present parabolic revelation itself announces that such a further revelation would be given!


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 119 The discussion of this large and momentous issue, however, must be deferred to a future chapter.1

1 See Chap. 9, How the Spiritual Sense is arrived at, pp. 148-151, below.



8.--The "Spirit," or Inner Meaning.

THE first necessity in approaching the direct consideration of the subject to which we have now come, is a clear and correct idea of what the Spiritual Sense of the Word is.

It may be useful to begin by indicating a distinction between "inner sense"--a term frequently used hitherto--and "spiritual sense." The former of these expressions is a general term covering every sense, of whatever degree of interiorness, that may exist beyond, behind, above, or within the "outer" sense, which is the literal. And these senses may have as their subject-matter a variety of themes--Divine, spiritual, or even natural (in the sense of occurring in the natural world), provided they are other than those directly dealt with in the particular literal sense immediately involved. "Literal sense" and "natural sense," therefore, are not, strictly speaking, identical terms: the "natural sense" includes the "literal" sense, but it may include more than the literal--things that transpire in the natural world, though not directly presented--only represented--in the literal" sense.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 121 The term "inner sense," of course, includes the "spiritual" sense and the "inner-natural" sense; while "spiritual sense" excludes both the purely literal and the "inner-natural," and embraces all that sense, or all those senses, in which Divine, eternal, heavenly, and strictly spiritual subjects form the theme. These terms will be illustrated incidentally in various parts of what follows.

All the examples adduced in Chapter 4, in proof of the "parabolic" character of our Scriptures, and thus of their possession of an "inner" sense as distinguished from the purely literal, are illustrations of the "inner-natural" sense, and not of the strictly "spiritual." Their distinguishing feature, is, it may be remembered-or, if not, a consultation of them will show-that they all point to the Lord Jesus Christ, and His outward life on earth; and they are parabolic in the respect that the events, circumstances, and sentiments were really, under the Divine inspiration by which they were written, spoken of the Lord-though, historically, also of the personages mentioned in the strictly literal sense; Whom, therefore, those persons parabolically represented. The events, circumstances and sentiments, themselves, were paralleled by exactly such sentiments, events and circumstances, which found a place in the earthly life of our Lord, and are narrated in the literal sense of the Gospels.

In some parts of the Old Testament also, notably where the interpretations" of visions and dreams are given, and also in the case of Jotham's parable "of the trees choosing a king" (Jud. ix. 7-21), the "interpretations," though illustrating the parabolic character of the portion of Scripture they explain, do not exemplify the "spiritual" sense of the Word; and are, themselves, not less "parabolic" than that which they "interpret."


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 122 In all these cases, the application is to things, or events, belonging to the external history of man in the world, or pertaining to his purely natural life, and not to the truly spiritual. Such cases, are, the dreams of Pharaoh's butler and baker, respectively (Gen. xl. 5-19); Pharaoh's two dreams (Gen. xli. 1-32); Nebuchadnezzar's dreams (a) of the image (Dan. ii. 27-45) and (b) of the tree (iv. 10-26); Daniel's own visions (a) of the four beasts (ch. vii.), and (b) of the ram and the he-goat (viii. 2-26)-besides others.

It is obvious to exact thought, that these "interpretations" are not examples of the "spiritual sense" which the Lord postulates in His memorable canon "Tile flesh profiteth nothing; it is THE SPIRIT that quickeneth: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life" (John vi. 63), or which we have seen reason to expect to be included in that future "plain" revelation which the Lord so distinctly foreshadows in John xvi. 25.1

1 See Chap. 9, pp. 148-151.

For one thing, a statement of the really "spiritual sense" of any part of the word must necessarily be couched, not in parabolic language, but in the language of plain speech.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 123 For, if the statement of the spiritual sense were expressed parabolically, its real meaning, and consequently the real meaning of the statement professedly explained by it, could not be known until the explaining "parable" should be itself explained. A parabolic "explanation" of a parable, would, therefore, be no explanation; at most, it could only be a glimpse of the real thing, not the full explanation itself, that could be so conveyed. And since (as has been clearly established above1) our Word is parabolic in all its parts, there is nothing in it, in Old Testament or in New, the real essential meaning of which does not lie in a spiritual sense within. These "interpretations" that we have in mind, therefore, cannot be, in the nature of the case, statements, nor consequently examples, of the true Spiritual Sense of the word.

Nor, again, is the true Spiritual sense the "lesson" or "moral" of a parable; nor, therefore, such "lessons," however edifying, as a pious and skilful handling is able to educe from the Scripture histories. Much less is it the kind of Spiritual Sense that certain advocates of the Higher Criticism are demanding shall be applied to, say, the early chapters of Genesis. When examined in their own exemplifications of it, this proves to be simply an application of what we mean when we speak of "the spirit of the law" as against "the letter of the law"--and that is, as every one is aware, simply the purpose, or intention, had in view in drawing it up, as distinguished from any meaning that the actual words employed may be capable of bearing.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 124 The Spiritual Sense of the Word of God is something far deeper and more vital than any of this.

1 See Chap. 4, pp. 55-64.

More convincing still, perhaps, on this point, because less abstract, is the proof afforded by the Lord's dictum as to the nature of all inspired Scripture, "The words that I speak unto you, they ARE SPIRIT." To see this, look at that dictum in its entirety: "The flesh profiteth nothing: it is the spirit that quickeneth: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life" (John vi. 63).

In this statement, the Lord likens all His words, and consequently (as before noticed1) His Word itself gas a whole, to a living man, consisting of soul, or "spirit," and body, or "flesh." If we are to learn all that the Lord shadows forth in this comparison, it is manifest that we must give the comparison its full force, in our minds, and well digest all its legitimate implications.

1 See Chap. 4, pp. 53-55.

The thing quite clear, at the outset, is, that the "flesh" (or, body) of which the Lord speaks, is the "Letter" (see 2 Cor. iii. 6), or literal sense; and the "spirit" (or soul) is the Spiritual Sense. And, if this simile is to illustrate the nature of those two senses (one of which is to be disregarded, and the other sought after and prized)--as, of course, must be the case--the distinction, and the relation, between the literal and spiritual senses must be of the same character as those existing between the soul (or "spirit") and the body (or "flesh") of a living man.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 125 This is indubitable. And the one thing that is sure and undeniable about the soul and the body of a man, in their mutual relations and distinctions, is, that they, and each and all things included in them respectively, belong in different categories, are subject to different laws and pertain to different planes of being.

Let us look at the way in which the spirit of a man makes its presence and activity manifest in his body The most easily perceived mode of this manifestation, is that of the exhibition of the states and emotions of the mind in the expressions of the face. The face, then, regarded as the index of the mind," is to afford us illustration and instruction concerning the distinction (and the relation) between the literal and spiritual senses of the Divine Word. Take the facial expression called a "scowl." That "indicates" the activity, at .the moment, in the mind, of the sentiment of "hate." The smile that spontaneously illuminates the face on unexpectedly meeting a dear friend; the sudden lighting up of the eye, when listening to a person's explanation of some knotty point in science, philosophy or theology; the instant hardening of the whole aspect, on witnessing, or hearing of, some dastardly action towards a defenseless woman or child-each of these expressions tells its tale, in unmistakable terms, to him who can read the expressions aright, as to the affection, sentiment or emotion that is active in the mind, which is the soul" of that face, at the moment the expression shows itself.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 126 The smile, manifests the affection of loving welcome; the lighting up of the eye, the mind's sudden perception of the speaker's meaning or drift, previously obscure; the general hardening of the countenance, the sentiment of stern disapproval and indignation. And so on.

That these two sets of phenomena, the expressions of the face and the sentiments and states of the mind, belong to different planes of being, the bodily and the mental (or spiritual), respectively, is at once perceived and acknowledged. That they belong in different categories is equally sure, from the fact that no one supposes, for a moment, that there is any visual resemblance between the affection of the mind and the expression of the face. It is innately discerned, in fact, that the states of the mind cannot have any pictorial, or visible, appearance, in themselves--and hence any sensible qualities--although they can, and do, produce visible appearances, and sensible qualities, in the body. The same things cannot be predicated, or the same words employed, in the same sense, of the mental states and of facial expressions. That the relation between them, moreover, is that of cause and effect, the mental phenomena causing and producing the bodily, is also clear, and sure. Certain, too, it is, that the bodily phenomena "represent" the mental, or spiritual, phenomena of which they are the expression and the effect; as, also, that they "correspond" to them, and "signify" them.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 127 In a word, the mental phenomena are the spiritual sense, or meaning, of the bodily.

Now, extend the view. From all that has just been seen, it follows, quite certainly, that the whole body, and all its parts, "corresponds," absolutely, to the whole soul (or "spirit": the terms are interchangeable in the present relation) and all its parts. Otherwise, it were manifestly impossible for the soul to act into the body, and for the body to respond to the action of the soul upon it, with such unfailing precision and accuracy, as must be the case for such effects to be produced. The general, and at the same time most minutely particular, and even singular, responsiveness, of the limbs and muscles of the body, to the behests of the soul, tells the same story of the accurate "correspondence," in all least details even, that must, and does, exist between the body and the soul.

That all this is, is sure. But how can it be, on any other basis than that on which a specific expression of face comes to correspond to, and indicate, a specific state of the mind--to correspond to it so absolutely, that, on the cessation of the particular state of the mind involved, its expression in the face passes away of its own accord, and, cannot be maintained, or restored, except by an artificial "putting on" of the state of mind belonging to that expression of the face-and then only imperfectly?


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 128 The marvelous and complete "correspondence" that exists between the soul and the body, in all details, surely points to a like cause-and-effect relation to that which, we know, explains the altogether similar "correspondence" existing between the state, or affection, etc., of the mind on the one hand, and its appropriate facial expression on the other. The soul, in a word, in the processes of conception, gestation and birth, causes and produces the body, and makes it a "correspondence," representative, and parable, of itself. The body is a "scripture" or "letter," therefore, of which the soul is the spiritual sense or meaning!

Also, by the analogy of the Lord's similitude, the "flesh," or body, or Letter of the Divine Word, was in its bringing into existence, produced and formed, in some way or other, by the spiritual sense, or "spirit or soul, of which it is the body, or flesh," This point, however, belongs, manifestly, to the subject of Inspiration, where it will fall to be more fully developed: we merely indicate it here, as bound up in that marvelously pregnant and instructive dictum concerning the Divine Word as being a spiritual man as it were, compact of soul and body, which we are studying. We may take it, therefore, as established that the "spirit," or Spiritual Sense, of the Word must be concerned with spiritual, and not natural, subjects. Everything in it must be spiritual--not natural. The things, and the persons, mentioned in the Letter, must be left out of account when the spiritual sense is being investigated--both the persons and things mentioned, and all other persons and things belonging to the natural plane of life, thought and experience; and, in a word, spiritual things must be understood in the Spiritual Sense, in place of the natural things that are named in the literal sense.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 129 Such, in a brief statement, is the nature of "the spirit," or Spiritual Sense, of the Word throughout, according to the plain implications of the Lord's own pronouncement on the subject: "The flesh profiteth nothing: it is the spirit that quickeneth: the words, that I speak unto you, they are spirit."

It will be helpful, and even highly instructive, to illustrate these conclusions from the statement called in question by the Jews, that led to the announcement of the illuminating and far-reaching principle we are considering. The statement is:--"Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood hath eternal life" (John vi. 534). The point of the Lord's dictum, is, that these words are not to be taken in their literal sense but in their spiritual; and, consequently, that by "flesh" is not to be understood literal ,flesh, nor by "blood" literal blood; nor by "eating" bodily eating, nor by "drinking," bodily drinking; but, in each case, a spiritual thing, and a spiritual act, instead. We are, therefore, to learn what "spiritual" things the Lord meant by "flesh" and "blood," and what "spiritual" acts by "eating" and "drinking." Let us begin with the "blood."



"Blood," and especially the Lord's "blood," is referred to in the Word in a variety of remarkable and very astonishing ways. In the present case, for example, it is put before us as something to drink as, also, in (among many other places) Matt. xxvi. 27-8, in the account of the institution of the Holy Supper:--"He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, DRINK ye all of it; for this is MY BLOOD of the new Covenant1 which is shed for many for the remission of sins."' Here, also, what the Lord calls "the blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins," is the wine that we drink in the Lord's Supper!

1 R. V.

Elsewhere, "blood" is spoken of as something to wash clothing in: "What are these that are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? ... These are they which ... have washed their robes, and made them white, in the blood of the Lamb" (Rev. vii. 13-14); and the marvel, in this case, is enhanced by the fact that washing their robes in the blood specified, had the effect of making them white--not red, as was to be expected! Again, the Lord's blood" is represented as something in which men can be cleansed from their sins: "Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood ... be glory and dominion for ever and ever" (Rev. i. 5-6). And, still again, as something by which men may "overcome": "The accuser of our brethren is cast down; ... and they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb" (Rev. xii. 10-11);--to say nothing of other uses and effects that are, in different places, ascribed to the Lords blood.



Viewing the subject from the standpoint of common sense and simple fact, we know, full well, that the effects mentioned in these Scriptures cannot be produced by natural blood, whether the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, or the blood of a man, or the blood of an animal or of animals. It may reasonably be anticipated, however, that they will follow from the use of the spiritual thing that the Lord means by His blood. But we can only test this point, by first learning what that spiritual thing is, and then seeing whether that spiritual thing does produce the effects mentioned.

An important clue to what the spiritual thing here meant by the Lord by His blood is, is to be found in considering it as a medium of spiritual cleansing; for what that spiritual thing is that is the medium of spiritual cleansing, the Lord himself makes very evident, where he said to His disciples: now ye are clean through THE WORD THAT I HAVE SPOKEN UNTO YOU (John xv. 3). It is the Word of the Lord that is the medium, and the sole medium, of spiritual cleansing; and that Word is Divine Truth: Thy Word, said the Lord, in the course of His memorable prayer on behalf of His disciples immediately before entering the garden of Gethsemane; Thy Word is TRUTH.

Now, take the Divine Truth of the Word of God, as being what the Lord means when He speaks of His blood, and see how it answers to the various things He says about His blood.



(a) As a means of cleansing from sin, it is evident that this an affect which might naturally be expected of itthat such cleansing is, indeed, its intended effect. The Divine Truth of the Word is largely concerned with teaching us what things are sins, and with warning us against, and forbidding us to commit them. And if we apply such truths to our lives, that is, practice and obey them, it cannot but result, that, ceasing, in obedience to the Lords Divine Truth, to commit our sins, we shall eventually be cleansed from them by the Truth.

(b) As a medium for washing robes, or clothesspiritual robes, of course; which are our beliefs respecting things spiritual and Divinethe Divine Truth of the Word of God is, evidently, equally appropriate and effectual. Those beliefs are true and genuine in the proportion in which they are derived from, and agree with, that Word. That IS truth (John xvii. 17); and our beliefs are true, in the degree in which they are in accord with it; and washing our beliefs, is, purging or purifying them from error, by comparing them with, and conforming them to, the Divine Truth of the Word,--or, in the correspondential language of that word, washing them in the blood of the Lamb. And such washing of our beliefs will make them WHITEfor white, just as plainly signifies pure, genuine, truein proportion as conforming them to Divine Truth corrects their errors.



(c) Divine Truth, moreover, is the drink of the soul. To drink-in a persons words, in the unconscious imagery of our everyday speech, is to warmly and heartily learn, accept and embrace what the person is saying; and to drink the Divine Truth of the Word of God is, in like manner, to eagerly accept that truth as true, and so assimilate it to the substance of our minds.

(d) It is by the Divine Truth of the Word, also, that we can overcome in our spiritual conflictsthat is, our temptations; for the overcoming is, of course, a spiritual overcoming, as much as the washing and the drinking are spiritual washing and drinking. It was by the Divine Truth of the Word that the Lord overcame, when He was tempted. He met every temptation with an, It is written, followed by the citation of the particular Divine Truth that was written: It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. It is written, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve (Matt. Iii. 4, 7, 10). Thus, He made the Word of God the ground of His resistance to temptation; and by the Divine Truth of that Word, He overcame. Our overcoming, also, is conditioned in the same way, and to be brought about by the same means. We overcome by the blood of the Lamb, or the blood of the Son of Man, or the blood of the Covenant,that is, by the Divine Truth of the Word called up and obeyed in the moment of temptation; and real, lasting victory can be obtained by no other means.



In regard, next, to eating the Lords flesh, we start from the point that the Lord here expressly speaks of His flesh as food: My flesh is meat (or, food), indeed (ver. 55)of course, the meat, or food, of the soul. When in the world, the Lord taught very clearly that there is spiritual food as well as natural food; food for the soul as well as for the body. Man doth not live by bread alone, but by every word proceeding out of the mouth of God (Matt. Iii. 4). On a certain occasion, also, when the disciples had been away into a town they had reached in one of their journeys with Jesus, to buy food, and, returning with the food they had purchased, offered Jesus some of it, He said to them, I have meat [i. e. food] to eat that ye know not of. And on their exclaiming, Hath my man brought Him aught to eat? He went on to explain: My meat [i. e. food] is TO DO THE WILL OF HIM THAT SENT ME, and to finish His work (John iv. 32-4). Now, every one knows that the will of god is absolutely and unmixedly goodso much so, indeed, as to be Goodness itself. And this will of God, or Divine Goodness, is made known to man in the word, to enlighten his native darkness as to what is really good, to the end that he may be led to aspire to, and strive after, genuine goodness, and not waste time and energy in the pursuit of a delusive and imaginary goodness, which is not truly good at all.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 135 And this revealed will of God, or Divine Goodness, is what the Lord places before us as the meat, or solid food, of the soul, just as we have found that the revealed wisdom of God, or Divine Truth, is its drink, or liquid food. This Divine Goodness, therefore, is the meat indeed, that the Lord declares the flesh of the Son of Man, which we are to eat as an indispensable condition of eternal life, to be. He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood hath eternal life, therefore, in the spiritual sense in which, the Lord teaches, it is alone to be understood, means,--he who embraces, appropriates and assimilates to his own spiritual life, the Divine Goodness and Divine Truth the lord reveals in His Word, by practice of the one and living faith in the other, has eternal life. And is it not the case that eternal life cannot be received on any other terms? No mans truth and goodness (so called, and so perhaps appearing), self-originated and arrogated to self, will avail for eternal life. For, eternal life is the life of God in man. It is vain, therefore, to imagine that gods life in us can be built up of, or can even co-exist with, mans self-righteousness and self-intelligence, or any other constituents than the Lords Goodness and Truth, received from Him through His Word, and appropriated to our spiritual substance in being embraced, lived and loved.

It is this great and vital truth that the Lord declares in the words we have been considering, and that we should have in mind when, in the Holy Supper, we representatively, in the wine, drink the Lords Blood, and, in the bread, eat His Body.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 136 Not our own righteousness, but His righteousness, imparted to us in our eating, or practicing, the Good enjoined upon us in His word: not our self-intelligence in spiritual things, but His Divine Truth, made known by revelation, understandingly and believingly embraced by us, in thus spiritually drinking it, can give us eternal life. Spiritually understood in this way, the words, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, ye have no life in you: whoso eatheth My flesh and drinketh My blood hath eternal life, are seen to proclaim a vital truth of practical import and supreme moment. And they constitute a most striking illustration of the further truth: The flesh [i. e. in this case, the Letter} profiteth nothing: It is THE SPIRIT that quickenethor, giveth life.

This example amply suffices to exhibit the real nature of the Spiritual Sense of the Word, of which, especially, we speak in this chapter, and which is, everywhere, the real meaning of the Word of the Lord. In its Spiritual Sense, the Word treats exclusively of things the nature, property and tendency of which are those that the Apostle Paul tells Timothy are the nature and properties of all God-inspired Scripture: ALL Scripture is inspired of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works (2 Tim. iii. 16-17).



Incidentally, we note that it is always the Spiritual Sense that prominently and manifestly serves these needful purposes; and also that, in many, and even in most, casestaking into account all that the Word contains, in both Testaments, but especially in the Oldit is only in the Spiritual Sense that these purposes are served at all. To a large extent, it is literally and absolutely true that the flesh [i. e. the letter] profiteth NOTHINGnothing, that is, in the way of direct spiritual edificationit is the spirit that giveth life. But concerning all, the Lords gracious assurance is absolutely true: The words that I speak unto you, they ARE Spirit and they ARE Life.











9.--How the Spiritual Sense is arrived at.

THE reader who has intelligently followed the working out of the example of the Spiritual Sense of the Word furnished in the last chapter, is now able to form a tolerably clear idea of what the Spiritual Sense is. We feel it safe to assume, also, that, if he is possessed of any living interest in spiritual things, he has already begun, or, at any rate, is already beginning, to realize something of the' rich possibilities that lie before him, in the event of his being able to have the Spiritual Sense of other parts of the Word unfolded in a similar manner. Scores of passages may occur to every affectionate and devout reader of the Word, of which he all too clearly perceives that "the flesh profiteth nothing," and which he has been, perforce, compelled to put aside as either having no meaning profitable for spiritual purposes, or as "mysteries," for the solution of which he must wait until his arrival in another world.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 141 This example of what the Spiritual Sense of the Word can do with even such a perplexing and unpromising saying as that which staggered the Jews into exclaiming: "How can this man give us His flesh to cat?" holds out new hope, to all to whom every word that the Lord has spoken to His people in His Word is precious, of being able to find a rationally intelligible, and at the same time spiritually profitable meaning, by means of this Spiritual Sense, in a hundred places where, without it, all is dark, incomprehensible or forbidding--it may be, even incredible!

In the minds of such, question after question will arise, pressing for instant reply: "Where can I learn more of this Spiritual Sense? How is it to be arrived at? Can I, perhaps, by a close study of the method employed in the last chapter--that is, as it appears, by an ingenious detection and skilful following up of clues to be found here and there in the Letter--work it out for myself, in other places? Or, failing this-and it may easily fail, in my inexperienced hands--is there, perchance, some one, somewhere, who has made the working out of this Spiritual Sense of the Word his life's study--as it may well be, for any man--who will impart it to those who wish to learn? If so, who is he, and where can I find him? Can any man achieve the stupendous task, by the application of any ingenuity and skill whatever, of eliciting, with certainty, the meaning that God intended in every part of His parabolic Word? Could any one but God Himself, who gave the Word, make known the Spiritual Sense which, in giving it, He stored up within it?"



This eager stream of interrogatories evidently converges in those that stand at the end; and all may be brought to a head, in the one: "Does not the 'parabolic' character of the Word necessitate the giving, at some future time, of a further Revelation to make known its inner sense? or, alternatively, is there any other way of arriving at it?" And to this question--left over, as the reader may remember, from Chapter 7--we now address ourselves.

The question with which we are now confronted would seem to be very conclusively answered by the experience of the Christian Church. All who are in any degree familiar with early Christian history, are aware that belief in a spiritual, or, as it was called, an "allegorical" sense of the Scriptures, was very general in the first centuries. This mode of interpretation retained its hold on the Church, with some fluctuations, through the whole period of the middle ages, and up to the revival of classical learning in the fifteenth century. The greatest--though by no means the only-name associated with this method of interpretation is, unquestionably, that of Origen; who, in his fourth book, De Principis, has the following statement on the subject: "The sentiments of the Holy Scriptures are to be impressed on our minds in a three-fold manner, in order that [a] whosoever, belongs to the simpler sort of persons may receive edification from the flesh of the Scripture (thus we call their obvious meaning), but [b] he who is somewhat more advanced, from its soul;


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 143 but [c] whosoever is perfect, and similar to those to whom the Apostle alludes where he says we speak wisdom ... from the spiritual law which contains a shadow of good things to come; for, as man consists of spirit, body and soul, so also [does] the Holy Writ which God has planned to be granted for the salvation of mankind." In another place, he says: "They who find fault with the allegorical exposition of the Scripture, and maintain that it has no other sense than that which the text shows, take away the key of knowledge." And again, in his commentary on Leviticus: "The laws of the sacrifices, which are given in this book of the Law, are to be fulfilled according to their spiritual meaning; for no man having a right or sound reason, can admit that rams, and goats, and calves are fit offerings for an immortal and incorporeal God." On this same subject, Ignatius, too, declares: "The Law of God is spiritual; and they have not the true Law, who do not take it spiritually." Augustine, also, says: "They who take the writings of Moses according to the literal sense do not desire to be learned in the kingdom of heaven, neither do they pass over to Christ, that He might remove the veil." Many others of the Fathers might be cited to alike purport. In the first centuries, indeed, the "allegorical" was, to a large extent, the prevailing practice in interpretation; and numerous passages, from many different expositors, might be adduced in illustration of. the application of it which then obtained.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 144 In the writings of Origen especially, are preserved many remarkable and admirable examples of this method. Also, however, there are, in the writings of all the Allegorists, many very deplorable and fantastic results; referable, partly, to insufficiency of genuine doctrine and interior truth; partly, to the lack of any fixed principle, or law, of interpretation--in consequence of which the same thing would have different and incompatible significations ascribed to it by different interpreters; partly, to the absence, with all of them, of any true and adequate conception of the proper nature of the Spiritual Sense. That they failed to arrive, by their method, at the Spiritual Sense itself which God, in giving His Word, had placed within it, there cannot be the shadow of a doubt on: the part of any one acquainted with their results. The interpretations became more and more fanciful, arbitrary, mutually inconsistent, and sometimes puerile and absurd. Needless to say, "spiritual" interpretation, in such circumstances, became discredited among sensible, sober-minded men, and has at length fallen, among the Protestant denominations, into entire disuse and even contempt. In the Roman Catholic communion, indeed, it is still asserted and to some extent practiced, but with results no happier or more trustworthy, it need hardly be said, than in the case of the patristic writers.



As a consequence, the principle itself of spiritual interpretation has come to be explicitly rejected, and the opposite one--referred to in a former chapter--of "a literal interpretation only where a literal interpretation is possible," almost universally affirmed, maintained and practiced, in its stead. In the cases--and they are quite numerous, especially in the prophetic Books--in which a literal interpretation is not possible, the so-called "spiritual interpretations" offered--as such sometimes are--are, of course, just as destitute of authority, and just as untrustworthy, as the patristic ones; and, for the most part, they lie under the self-same reproach of arbitrariness, fancifulness, and the rest of it, as those. Indeed, there obtains a more or less veiled admission, that where a literal interpretation is impossible, the Word is a mere riddle, at which every one makes his own guess--if he cares to-and in which one man's guess is as good as another's, inasmuch as no one knows the answer; or, else, the open admission, that, in these places, the Divine Word cannot be understood, and was not meant to be!

The significant fact remains, however, avouched by the express dictum of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by a thousand instances, that the Word of the Lord claims for itself a spiritual interpretation, and repudiates, in the clearest terms, a merely and exclusively literal one: "The flesh profiteth nothing: it is the spirit that quickeneth: the words that I speak unto you, they ARE SPIRIT" (John vi. 63). The position, therefore, which Protestant Christendom as a whole, asserts and maintains to-day, is at open variance with the teaching of the Word itself; which fact, alone, is its all-sufficing condemnation.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 146 For, that the Divine Word itself must be admitted to be the final court of, appeal on the question of its own interpretation, is a position so inherently strong, so rational, so inevitable that it may be classed as virtually axiomatic. To this case, above all conceivable cases, the canon of Holy Writ supremely applies: "To the law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isa. Viii. 20): because, that is to say, they are not true. Judging it by this standard, this is the verdict to which we are brought, in reference to the attitude of Protestantism respecting the true principle of Scripture interpretation.

The answer furnished by the experience of the Church, to our present question--as to the necessity, or otherwise, of a further Revelation to make known the "inner sense" of the "parabolic" Revelation we have in the Word--would, therefore, unquestionably seem to be, that, within certain narrow limits, a spiritual or "allegorical" sense tending to edification, can be worked out, in ingenious hands, by the aid of clues to be found in the Letter of the Word, without any further Revelation; but that, as regards the Word as a whole, the drawing forth of a coherent, trustworthy, consistent, truly instructive, and especially an authoritative spiritual sense worthy the name, is hopeless; and that only a Revelation of that sense by Him who gave the Word whose inner sense it is, and who alone, therefore, knows that sense with certainty, and is thus able to make it known to men, is adequate to the need.



In view of all this, how much to the point, and how clearly final, rings the language of the Book of Revelation: "And NO MAN in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, WAS ABLE TO OPEN THE BOOK, neither to look thereon. And I wept much (v. 3-4). And no less to the point, and withal full of hope and promise, is the sequel: "And one of the elders said unto me, Weep not; behold; the LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDA, THE ROOT OF DAVID, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof" (ver. 5). What other can this "opening" of "the Book" be, than the laying open, or making known, of the Spiritual Sense all along contained within its every syllable, but hitherto concealed under the "seven seals" of the parabolic form of its Letter?

The Word, however, has other testimony, from the mouth of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and therefore carrying the highest possible authority; which has, as will be seen if it be allowed due consideration and its just weight, an unmistakable application to the matter before us. The testimony in question is contained in the Gospel according to John, at the place where we find it related, that, after the Last Supper, and thus at ale very end of His earthly ministry, our Lord said to His disciples, "I have yet many things to say unto you; but ye cannot bear them now" (John xvi. 12).


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 148 And, later in the same chapter, we find this other, and evidently closely related, statement: "These things have I spoken unto you in parables; but the time cometh when I shall no more speak unto you in parables1 but I shall shew you plainly of the Father" (ver. 25). In the former of these sayings, we have a distinct and sure intimation, if words have meaning, that the Lord was, at some time in the future--probably, the distant future going to give a further revelation of His Love and Wisdom beyond that given even in the Revelation of Christianity, the New Testament Scriptures: He had those things to say, i. e., He was going to say them, sometime; but He could not say them then, because, then, men were "not able to bear" them. The fact that they were withheld then, for that reason, and no other, implies an undertaking, and so a promise, to "say" them when men should have made such farther progress in spiritual intelligence, that they would "be able to bear,"--i. e., to understand and profit by--them. In the latter of the statements now before our minds, we have, first, a repetition of the implied promise of the former one: "The time cometh when ... I SHALL SHOW you plainly of the Father." At some future time, he would give a further communication of His mind and will, beyond those--in Old and New Testaments--hitherto given.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 149 And, in addition to thus clearly foreshadowing a further Revelation, he declares the character of the one then given, and indicates contrasting character in the one yet to come: "THESE things I have spoken unto you IN PARABLES; but the time cometh, when I shall NO MORE speak unto you in parables, but I shall show you PLAINLY." The future Revelation should not be couched in the language of "parable," but in the everyday language of "plain" speech. The antithesis could not well be more clearly, or strongly, set out. And who, remembering the fact, of which this very statement expressly reminds them, that the former Revelation was a "parabolic" one, and that its "inner sense," which is, of the necessity of its parabolic character, its real, native sense, was not given with it, can doubt, that this promised future Revelation, in "plain," everyday language, would at the least include, even if it did not solely consist of, that "spiritual sense" which the unaided ingenuity of man has so conspicuously failed to elicit, and, on the authority of the Scriptures, never could elicit--without which Revelation, the real meaning of the former Revelation could never beg known, and its real and highest uses to mankind, consequently, never be realized

1 See footnote, p. 59, above.

In this conclusion, we have more than the reply to the question we set out to answer. The parabolic character of the Word does demand a further Revelation, to impart the "inner sense" of our present one the Lord Jesus Christ, at the end of His career in the world, promised that He would give a further Revelation, when men should be "able to bear it":


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 150 He announced that it would differ from the existing one in not being "parabolic" but expressed in "plain" speech; and thus He most distinctly encourages the expectation that it would at the least include the "spiritual sense" of this, and so crown this, and make it possible for this one to serve its highest uses to men--uses which are plainly in abeyance until the spiritual sense is known.




10.The Spiritual Sense disclosed.

IN the preceding pages we have satisfied ourselves that God has given us a Revelation of and from Himself, adequate to the spiritual requirements of mankind, from the time it was first given until now, in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. This Revelation, however, proves, on investigation, and on due consideration of the evidence which itself furnishes, to be parabolic in form and character, and so to contain, within its literal sense, a richness and abundance of interior spiritual and Divine Truth incomparably more precious than anything its Letter brings to light, in an inner or spiritual sense NOT revealed with it. This inner sense, we have also seen, demands--unless the best that the Word given contains, its "Spirit," is to be for ever lost to mankind--a further Revelation for its disclosure, and this necessary further Revelation is actually promised in the existing one.

In view of all this, and of the fact that, throughout the greater part of the present work, we have been proclaiming this "inner sense" of the Word; and, in one, chapter, have even set forth an example of it, somewhat at length, it must be seen to follow, of necessity, that this further Revelation is even now in the world.



This is the case. It is that, and that alone, which has enabled us to give the example of the Spiritual Sense of the Word above referred to, in spiritually interpreting the Lord's mysterious saying about the indispensableness to salvation and eternal life, of "eating His flesh and drinking His blood"; to know that there is a Spiritual Sense in every part of the Word, and to present to our readers some reasoned grounds for believing this to be the case. It is not that we are cleverer or worthier than others: it is simply and solely that the Lord has now made known the Spiritual Sense of His Word, and the interior doctrine pertaining to it and necessary to its comprehension, in that further Revelation which, at the very end of His earthly ministry, He promised to give when men should be "able to bear" it. And the reader is now entitled to know where this further Revelation is to be found, and something more about it. This we now proceed to tell him.

This Revelation, then, is contained in the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, consisting, in their English translation, of over thirty volumes, and embracing more than fifteen distinct works. Of these, the Arcana Coelestia (in 12 vols.); The Apocalypse Revealed; The Apocalypse Explained (6 vols.), are purely expository, and are devoted to the unfolding of the Spiritual Sense of the Divine Word, verse by verse, clause by clause, and almost word by word, in the Books, in the case of the Arcana Coelestia, of Genesis and Exodus, and in that of The Apocalypse Revealed and The Apocalypse Explained, as their titles imply, of the Book of the Revelation.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 153 The scope of these works is admirably set forth in the full title of the last-named; which is: "The Apocalypse explained according to the Spiritual Sense: in which are revealed the arcana which are there foretold, and have been hitherto concealed." In this statement we find indicated the very thing, of the desirableness and necessity of which we have become convinced-the revelation of the Spiritual Sense of the Word we possess in our Scriptures, without which those Scriptures can never come to their full usefulness to mankind. The complete titles of the other two works mentioned are of quite similar import, but are not quite so fully expressed.

Now, although these works are directly concerned with unfolding the Spiritual Sense of only three of the Books of the Word, the plan adopted in the spiritual exposition of those three is such as to incidentally state, or more or less explicitly or implicitly indicate, the Spiritual Sense of the remaining Books also. There is likewise a fourth work, small in size and brief in statement, but of inexpressible value to the student of the Spiritual Sense of the Word, called: A Summary Exposition of the Internal Sense of the Prophets and Psalms.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 154 It maybe said, with the utmost confidence, that the student who thoroughly masters these four works need never be at a loss for at least a general idea of the Spiritual Sense of any passage in the Word. There is the material in them which will enable scholars who competently master them, the Principles of Spiritual interpretation they set forth, and the more interior doctrines the Spiritual Sense itself brings to light, to do for all the other Books of the Word what the Divine Revelation has done in them for the Books of Genesis, Exodus and Revelation. Indeed, this has already been done, in some fullness, in the case of the Books of Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, the First and Second Books of the Kings, the Psalms, Isaiah, and Joel, in the Old Testament, and the four Gospels in the New, with different degrees of success, it is true--for we are as yet only in the infancy of the study of the Spiritual Sense of the Word and its profoundly spiritual doctrine--but, in all the cases, with results that bring to light the precious things that have. been stored up by the Lord in His Word, beyond anything heretofore dreamed of.

The remainder of the works that make up this new Revelation are of a doctrinal character, and their scope may for the most part be discerned from their titles. We give the principal of these:

Heaven and Hell; from things heard and seen.

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine.

The Earths in the Universe.

The Last Judgment, and Babylon Destroyed.

The Doctrine of the Lord.



The Doctrine of the Sacred Scripture.

The Doctrine of Life.

The Doctrine of Faith.

The Divine Love and Wisdom.

The Divine Providence.

Conjugial [or "Marriage"] Love.

The Intercourse of the Soul and the Body.

The True Christian Religion; containing the entire Theology of the New Church foretold by the Lord in Daniel (vii.) and in the Revelation (ch. xxi. and xxii.).

One is under a strong temptation to attempt something like a sketch of the system of doctrine taught in these works--constituting as it does a body of Christian Divinity, which, for comprehensiveness, rationality and spirituality, for its complete accord with the Word of God truly understood, for the satisfaction it affords alike to heart, to soul and to head, for the light it sheds upon the Divine Nature and methods, upon the spiritual constitution and eternal destiny of man, upon the spiritual solidarity of the human race in all natural and spiritual worlds, and upon the nature of man's life after death, is unequalled, nay unrivalled, not only at the present day, but in the annals of religious thought in any age. But space forbids.

Three points, however, demand mention. First this whole system rests upon the foundation truth that the Lord, Jesus Christ in His glorified or DIVINE Humanity, is, the only God of heaven and earth; and that the Divine Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not three Divine Persons, but three Divine Essentials comprehended in the ONE Divine Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, as the soul, body and the forth-flowing active life are comprehended in and constitute one living man.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 156 The sole and exclusive Deity of THE LORD JESUS CHRIST in His DIVINE Humanity, is the foundation stone of the entire fabric.

Secondly, the Spiritual Sense brings to light the truth that the promised Second Coming of the Lord, involving when literally interpreted such perplexities and difficulties as they have involved from the days of the Apostles to our own day, is not a Coming in Person, but in the Word, effected by the Revelation of its Spiritual Sense, in such a manner that it shall be rationally perceivable as its real meaning, and also of the doctrines relating to that sense. The prophecy, as the Lord gave it from His own lips, and caused it afterwards to be recorded in the Letter of His Word, is: "They shall see the. Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory" (Matt. xxv. 30). The "Son of Man," in the Spiritual Sense, applies to the Lord in His character of Divine Truth or the Word: the character in which, be it remembered, He came into the world at His First Advent in the Flesh (see John i. 1, 14.). The employment of this title in the prophecy of the Second Advent is, when spiritually understood, incontestable evidence, that He will come in the same character of Divine Truth, or the Word, at His Second Advent, as He did at His First.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 157 Not in flesh, however, this time; but "in the clouds of heaven," which, in the Spiritual Sense, signify the Letter of the Word. It is really because the Letter of the Word is spiritually signified by "clouds," that such strange things are said of God in relation to the clouds in it; as, for example: "He maketh the clouds his chariot" (Ps. civ. 3); "His strength is in the clouds" (Ps. 1xviii. 34), and very many other things equally extraordinary. With intelligent persons, it goes without saying that such statements as these cannot be literally true, or, consequently, in a Word of God, literally intended: the ideas called forth by a literal understanding of the first is too gross and crude to be credible, while the second is not intelligible under such an interpretation. Understand "clouds," however, to stand for the Letter of the Word, and all is clear and satisfactory: to "make the clouds His chariot," or to ride on the clouds as a man rides in a carriage, signifies that the Lord teaches men spiritual doctrine by means of the Letter of His Word; for "to ride" spiritually signifies to teach. Again: "His strength is in the clouds," signifies, that God has stored His own power against evil and falsity, in the Letter of His Word, so that, if men would only faithfully apply the precepts of the Word in its Letter to practice, when undergoing temptation, they would find that Divine Power is stored up tin them, and will enable them to conquer. This great, practical truth is illustrated by the fact that, in His temptations, when, in the world "He was tempted like as we are" (Heb. iv. 15), the Lord met each temptation with an "It is written," taken straight from the Letter of the Word, and conquered by it.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 158 Men, also, who follow the Lord's example in this respect, simply obeying what God has commanded in the Letter of the Word because He has commanded it, realize the same result, and prove by their experience--whether they can. understand how it comes to be so, or not-that the power of God is stored up in the Letter of the Word for the man who will faithfully obey it. And it is this truth that is taught in the otherwise unintelligible statement: "His strength is in the clouds," when it is spiritually construed, and by "clouds" is understood the Letter of the Word.

Similarly, in the prophecy of the Second Coming of the Lord in "the clouds of heaven," the meaning is that Divine Truth shall then descend into, and be perceived in, even the densest of the "clouds" of the Letter of the Word; in so many of which, literally understood, it is impossible to see any truth at all, much less Divine Truth. It is evident that the only way in which such an effect can be brought about, is by the hitherto concealed Spiritual Sense being revealed in such a manner that those who will may see that it really is the Spiritual Sense of the Letter. "With power and great glory" signifies, that this effect will be accompanied by an increase of the "power" of the Word against evil and falsity, with those who receive the Lord at His coming, and by the Word itself becoming with them radiant, luminous and glorious from the Spiritual Sense then brought to light.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 159 For, as "the cloud" signifies the obscure and relatively speaking "unprofitable" (John vi. 63) literal sense, so the "glory" is the Spiritual Sense in its beauty and radiance, which, breaking through the Letter and falling upon it, will illuminate it also.

Viewed from the standpoint of this now revealed Spiritual Sense of the Word, therefore, the Lord's Second Coining, which He foretold at His First, proves to be the very; Revelation of the Spiritual Sense of the Word which He promised at the close of His earthly ministry, and with which we are in this chapter concerned.

And, Thirdly, the "New Jerusalem," mentioned in the closing chapters of the Book of the Revelation--and of the entire Scriptures--means neither a city on earth, nor a city in heaven, but a new age or Dispensation of religion, to be inaugurated by the Lord on the basis of this Revealed Spiritual Sense of the Word, and the body of doctrine, also revealed, accompanying that sense; and thus, in the proper sense of the term, a New Church. A Church discriminated from the Churches of the generally accepted Christianity of today as radically--though in a different way--as that Christianity itself, when "new" and in its purity and integrity, was discriminated from the Jewish Church whose place it took for ministering to the spiritual needs of mankind.



This will have to suffice, in this place, for a description of the contents, or of the fundamental characteristics, of the books in which the Spiritual Sense of the Word of God is at this day made known.

It will be remembered that, in speaking of the further revelation that was to be given when men were able to "bear" it--that is, to be benefited and not injured, by it--the Lord spoke of it distinctly as one that He would give, just as He had given the one then existing: "These things have I spoken unto you in parables; but the time cometh when I shall no more speak unto you in parables, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father" (John xvi. 25). It was He who was to "show" these things: though, of course, if He showed them by a written Revelation, He would have to show them by means of a man through whom the Revelation would be given, We also realized for ourselves, on other grounds, in our last chapter, that to suppose that any one but He who gave the Word could give the Spiritual Sense of it, was wholly out of the question. The point arises, therefore, How do these books which profess to give the Spiritual Sense of the Word and its doctrine, stand, in relation to this important requirement?

The best way to answer this inquiry, is to let Swedenborg himself bear witness. Quite towards the end of the last work of the series, The True Christian Religion, published when he was in his eighty-fourth year, and thus on the confines of eternity, we find the following deliberate and solemn testimony:



The Second Coming of the Lord is a Coming, not in Person, but in the Word, which is from Him, and is Himself. This Second Coming of the Lord is effected by the instrumentality of a man before whom He has manifested Himself in Person, and whom He has filled with His Spirit, to teach from Him the doctrines of the New Church by means of the Word.

In fuller explanation of this announcement, he goes on:

Since the Lord cannot manifest Himself in Person to the world, which has just been shown to be impossible, and yet has foretold that He would come again and establish a New Church, which is the New Jerusalem, it follows that He will do this by the instrumentality of a man who is able not only to receive the doctrines of that Church in his understanding, but also to make them known by the press. That the Lord manifested Himself before me, His servant, that He sent me on this office, and afterwards opened the sight of my spirit, and so let me into the spiritual world, permitting me to see the heavens and the hells, and also to converse with angels and spirits, and this now continually for many years--all this I testify in truth; and, further, that, from the first day of that Call, I have not taken anything that relates to the doctrines of that Church from any angel, but from the Lord alone while I have been reading the Word (nos. 776 and 779).

So far as to the source of the doctrines contained in these books: "all is from the Lord alone.

He makes an entirely identical statement in reference to the Spiritual Sense of the Word disclosed in them.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 162 In the Preface to the work, The Apocalypse Revealed, he thus addresses the reader

Any one may see that the Apocalypse could not possibly be, explained save by the Lord alone, since every word of it contains mysteries that could not possibly be known without some special enlightenment and hence revelation; wherefore, it has pleased the Lord to open the sight of my spirit and to teach me. Think not, therefore, that anything here given is from myself, or from any angel, but from the Lord alone.

A similar claim is made on behalf of the disclosures concerning the life after death, which constitute so distinctive a feature of the body of doctrine given through Swedenborg, and to which a special work, Heaven and Hell., is exclusively devoted. The introductory paragraph of the work mentioned, concludes with the following announcement

The arcana revealed in the following pages, are concerning heaven and hell, and also concerning the life after death. The man of the, Church at this day knows scarcely anything about heaven and hell or his life after death, although all stand forth described in the Word yea, many who are born within the Church deny them, saying in their hearts, "Who has come from that world and told us?" Lest, therefore, such denial, which prevails especially with those who have much worldly wisdom, should also infest and corrupt the simple in heart and the simple in faith, it has been permitted me to be in company with angels, and "to speak with them as man with man, and also to see the things that are in the heavens and that are in the hells and to describe them from the things seen and heard, in the hope that ignorance may be enlightened and unbelief dispelled.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 163 Such immediate revelation is now made, because this is what is meant by the Coming of the Lord.

In these works, therefore, Swedenborg does not claim to be setting forth anything of his own: on the contrary, he expressly disavows any other source for anything they contain than "the Lord alone." They are the product of "a special enlightenment and hence revelation," and are neither from himself nor even from any angel, but "from the Lord alone." So far, then, they appear to be what we need.

One other point may present a difficulty. The future revelation which the Lord promised to give, was one in which He would not speak "in parables" but "plainly"; it should not be couched in a parabolic outer, form, but would be expressed in the everyday language of plain speech. Now, no one can read the works we are here discussing, and doubt that they answer to this description. That is not the' difficulty that will be felt; but, in view of what we learned in' the chapter on "The distinguishing Feature of Divine Authorship," how non-parabolic writing can be true Divine Revelation.

The answer is, firstly, that Swedenborg's works are not the product of the direct Divine Authorship that gave the Word, but of an indirect one; secondly, that it is only the products of direct Divine Authorship, or of Divine authorship strictly so called, that are necessarily parabolic in character; and, thirdly, that the character of "Revelation" may equally pertain to books that are the product of indirect and of direct Divine Authorship.



In the case of Swedenborg, he lays it down that the Lord needed for the purposes of this Revelation, in which he was to make His Second Coining, a man possessed of the ability to "receive these doctrines in his own understanding" and "also to make them known by the press." The former "ability" involved a rational mind of a sufficiently high degree and wide scope of cultivation to be able to "receive in the understanding," as distinguished from mechanically, the sublime truths which the Lord desired to communicate to the world: the latter involved skill and experience in what we ordinarily mean by "authorship," in order that what was revealed to Swedenborg's "understanding," Swedenborg might put into words, rationally present and corroborate by suitable proofs, and so give forth to men. The impartation of the truths to Swedenborg was the Lord's: it was thus "Revelation"; but the literary "authorship" of the books by which they were communicated to the world was committed to Swedenborg.

This is the testimony of the man who was called of God to this great task. It is not to be supposed however, that, though the authorship was committed to Swedenborg, he was left to himself in it: he must have had a constant illumination and guidance in his authorship, which should secure that through it the world should receive the actual truths revealed to Swedenborg, to the end that through him those truths themselves might reach mankind.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 165 Hence, the "plain," non-parabolic character of this new Revelation; and hence the fact, that, this notwithstanding, it is still Divine Revelation, and "from the Lord alone."

We are perfectly well aware that objections may arise in many minds to much that has been here stated; and the temptation is strong upon us to anticipate and reply to at least some of the most obvious of them--although, at the same time, we are sure that no rational or Scriptural objections can be maintained against anything that has been said. In saying this, we "speak that we do know and testify that we have seen" for ourselves, and are prepared to substantiate at a suitable opportunity. Such opportunity is not now, however. It was our duty, here, to tell the reader, plainly, frankly and candidly, that which would enable him to form a serviceable conception o that further Revelation disclosing the spiritual sense of the Word and various cognate matters, which our former studies have shown us must come sometime, if man is ever to come into the use and enjoyment of the deeper, more beautiful and more wonderful revelation which God has stored up in the Spiritual Sense of His Word, and which, in the course of Divine Providence, we, for our part, have come to be convinced--yea, to know--is now in the world.



This we had to do; and this, as well as ability permits, we have done. In view of all this, we make no apology for drawing freely and openly upon these works, in setting forth what has still to be told concerning the Spiritual Sense of the Word NOW DISCLOSED. Our next duty, to which we address ourselves in the following chapter, is to try to convey to the reader, by means of an outstanding example an adequate idea of what this Spiritual Sense of the Word now revealed is, and of what it does for the Word and for man.



11.--The new Exegesis applied to the Creation-stories in Genesis.

WE have chosen the Creation-stories in Genesis as our leading example of what the Spiritual Sense does for the Divine Word, partly because it is the very beginning of the Word, partly because in this portion some of the most striking difficulties ordinarily experienced in accepting the Scriptures as the very Word of God are as it were focused, and partly because it is so rich and varied in typically illustrative material.

It will not, however, be possible, in the space at our disposal, and it might easily prove tedious to the reader, for us to present the Spiritual Sense to be here set forth, in the constructive and reasoned manner adopted in the case of the Lord's words concerning the eating of His Flesh and the drinking of His Blood, in Chapter 8, by reason of the great extent of the ground to be covered. The method, in the main, will have to` be, to simply state what the Spiritual Sense of the; various expressions in the Letter is, without any !attempt at proof by appeal either to rational considerations or to Scripture usage.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 168 Rational and Scriptural corroboration can be given, however, on every point, and the revelation of the Spiritual Sense in Swedenborg's writings really makes no demand on blind credulity; but, in the present instance, for the reasons indicated, we must not bring the corroborations forward, but must content ourselves, as said-and ask the reader to be, at this stage, content--with something like a mere bald statement that the Spiritual Sense of this, that, or the other expression is so-and-so, without any accompanying statement of the grounds of its being so. This method will have the advantage, however, of enabling the reader to see, at a glance, what the Spiritual Sense disclosed in the writings of Swedenborg does for the Scriptures, when applied to a continuous narrative, of, certainly, a not very promising character from the point of view of spiritual instruction, better than he would be able to see it, perhaps, if less succinctly placed before him. This will be our method, in the main.

But, as a preliminary, it will be necessary for us to show from Scripture usage, that the main topic of the literal narrative--viz., Creation--actually is employed, in the Divine Word, in the meaning assigned to it in the Spiritual Sense. That meaning is, Regeneration. The word Regeneration itself, of course, means being born again; and the new birth, or the re birth, that it denotes, is the spiritual birth, or the being born of the Spirit, from above.



Now, the idea of ,birth is closely akin to that of creation. The birth of an individual human being is, distinctly, a "creation." Not a making of something out of nothing; for "out of nothing--nothing comes," but of bringing into existence that which had no existence before. It should follow, therefore, that regeneration, or the being born anew, or, what is the same thing, the spiritual "birth," must be much the same thing as being created anew, or spiritual "creation"--thus, creation in the spiritual sense. And we constantly find the term "creation" applied, in the Word, to the subject, the processes and the effects, of Regeneration.

It is, for instance, part of the doctrine of Regeneration that that process implies and confers a "new heart" and a "new spirit"--a new will in accord with the Divine will, and a new understanding by which "spiritual things" may be "spiritually discerned," as they need to be; and, in one place, we find the word "create" applied to the conferring of these specific gifts of Regeneration: "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me" (Psa. li. 10). And, in keeping with this idea of Regeneration as being a new, or spiritual, Creation, we find Paul saying, in his Epistle to the Ephesians, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works which God bath before ordained that we should walk in them" (ii. 10); and, again, in the same: "That ye put off, concerning the former conversation, the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which, after God, is CREATED in righteousness and true holiness" (iv. 224).


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 170 That the term create, in general, is applied to Regeneration, its gifts and processes, is, therefore, certain.

Also, however, we find the idea of a creation of heaven and earth, in particular, which is what we are specially concerned with in the opening chapters of Genesis, employed where Regeneration is evidently what is meant. It is said, in Isaiah li. 16: "And I have put My words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of Mine hand, that I may plant the heavens and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art My people." "Planting the heavens" and "laying the foundations of the earth," is evidently only another way of saying "Creating the heavens and the earth," and must mean the same thing. This passage, therefore, carries identically the same idea as the first verse of the first chapter of Genesis: "God created the heavens and the earth." Yet, here, in Isaiah, it is manifestly impossible for the idea to be taken in a literal sense, as it is--apart from the Spiritual Sense of the Word with which we are concerned--almost universally taken in Genesis; for the reason that the creation of heaven and earth here spoken of are future and contingent, and not past and accomplished: "that I may plant the heavens and lay the foundations of the earth, and (that I nay) say unto Zion, Thou art My people." Moreover, creating the heavens and the earth, literally construed, could have no effect whatever in enabling God to "say unto Zion, Thou art My people."


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 171 There is no relation between the two things. Men become "God's people" by being "born of God," that is, by being Regenerated, and in no other way whatsoever. "Planting the heavens and laying the foundations of the earth," here, therefore, cannot possibly signify anything else than Regenerating the persons concerned: a conclusion corroborated by a glance at the means mentioned as those by which the result is to be brought about; for Regeneration is effected by means of "the words of the Lord's mouth," or the Divine Truths of the Word, and under the "covering of the shadow of God's hand," this is, under the protection, and in the power, of the LORD, and not our own. The Divine Truths of the Word of God are given, and the Divine protection and power are extended to men, to the end that the Lord may thereby Regenerate them, both inwardly and outwardly--as to inward thoughts, affections and motives, and as to outward conduct--and have the joy of looking upon them as, and calling them because He has, by Regeneration, made them--"His people"!

We know, then, beyond any peradventure, that the "creation of heaven and earth" is mentioned in the Divine Word' when the Regeneration of the human soul is what is really meant, and that, in such cases at all events, the term "create" does not bear its literal meaning at all.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 172 And have we not in the facts (1) that if, in Gen. i., that word is taken in its literal meaning, the narrative is not what the Apostle, with the instant endorsement of our reason, declares that "all Scripture inspired of God" is, viz.--"profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto every good work" (2 Tim. iii. 16); and (2) that, in that case, the narrative is so beset with inconsistencies, difficulties, contradictions and incredibilities, as to cast doubt--as it actually does-upon the Divine Authorship of the Scriptures at the portal of which it stands (to say nothing of other considerations) have we not in these facts, a very distinct hint that the term "creation" is not used here, either, literally, but only spiritually, and that, consequently, the subject of the chapter is not the creation of the visible world of nature, but the Regeneration of the invisible world of the human spirit? Surely, we have; and, consequently, the very fullest warrant for the statement, given in our Revelation of the Spiritual Sense, "The six days, or times, are so many successive states of the Regeneration of man" (Arcana Coelestia, no. 6).

With what relief we can now turn our minds from the "unprofitableness" of the Letter, in the portion of the Word with which we have to deal, to the Spiritual Sense, knowing, that the theme on which God is here, at the outset of His Word, addressing us, is one so intrinsically "profitable" for our spiritual welfare as that of Regeneration!



"In the beginning," in the Spiritual Sense, does not mean, as in the literal, the first thing in point of tune, but the first thing in point of regard and end; just as "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God" means, rather, making the Kingdom of God our chief concern and aim, than giving it priority over other things as regards time. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth," therefore, signifies that the chief aim and real end of all God's doings and operations, and specifically the chief aim and real end of the Word, at the threshold of which this announcement stands, is the Regeneration of Man as to the affections, thoughts, ideals and motives he inwardly cherishes, as well as the thoughts and intentions he externally formulates and adopts, and the actions he performs. Both these planes of life must be regenerated; or Regeneration is not accomplished at all.

"The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep," signifies, that man's spiritual condition, before Regeneration commences, is one of complete destitution of all spiritual life as regards both good and truth--"without form," pointing to his destitution of all genuine good and "void" to his destitution of all genuine truth. "Darkness upon the face of the deep," is dullness, and essential--not necessarily formal--ignorance, in reference to the "deep" things of the Spirit of God; which to the unregenerate or "natural" mind are mere "foolishness" (I Cor. ii. 14). Man is essentially ignorant of any truth the force and significance of which he has not realized.



"The Spirit of God moved [or, more felicitously, `brooded'] upon the face of the waters," signifies, the Lord's Holy, Spirit infusing something of life and motion into the knowledge--signified by the "waters"--of Divine and heavenly things derived from the Word, which exist in the memory of every person who becomes the subject of Regeneration. The knowledges here in question, are such as that God is, that He is Good Itself and Truth Itself, and that man cannot hope ever to attain any good and truth (spiritual, of course) except from Him. The very first step in the direction of Regeneration, is that the man be brought to realize that these knowledges--to him, hitherto, so many verbal statements merely--are, or may be, of vital moment to him as an immortal being. And this is brought about by "the Spirit of God brooding" over them, or "upon the face of the waters," in his mind.

"And God said, Let there be light; and there was light," is the first fruits of this "brooding" of the Holy Spirit, in the case of the person who permits himself to respond to the holy influence, and the first actual step in the path of Regeneration. For, "light" signifies truth; and, to such a person, the previously meaningless "knowledges" begin now to assume yet more the new character of truths; and, discerning their truth, and realizing in a measure their immense practical moment, he begins to awake to the tremendous significance for eternity, that life holds.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 175 The new state, a relatively Spiritual one, into which he then and thus comes, is called "day," because, in contrast with night, "day," in the Word, signifies a Spiritual state, and "night" a Natural one--or, what is the same thing, "day" a state of regenerative attainment, and "night" an unregenerate state.

The regenerating man is next given by the Lord to discern a profound difference between this new state, which now dawns upon him for the first time, and the state in which alone he has been hitherto "God divides [for him] the light [that now is] from the darkness [which, alone, formerly was]. And God called the light Day; and the darkness He called Night." Not, however, that man has left his natural, worldly, selfish, unregenerate states behind, finally and for ever: they will assert themselves again and again, throughout his regenerative experience; but, unless he "goes away backward" (Isa. i. 4.), his life is lived, henceforth, on a higher level than ever before, and will be a constant advance to higher levels still, in relation to which, at each advance, the level last left is a "natural" and worldly one. Every fresh step is from natural to spiritual, from unregenerate to regenerate, in some new respect. Hence, each day's regenerative achievement is summed up in the refrain--looking back to the last previous state as the one from which the present one set out--"the evening and the morning were the first [second, third, etc.] day." "Evening" first, "morning" afterwards: "For that is not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and AFTERWARDS that which is spiritual" (1 Cor. xv. 46)--in the first step, and in every step.



"And God said, Let there be a firmament--or more exactly, 'expanse'--in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters." The recurrence of the word "waters," signifying, as we remember, knowledges, admonishes us that the state is still an intellectual one--for knowledges are manifestly of the intellect-while the purpose of the "firmament" as being to "divide the waters' from the waters," or, as it is put in the next verse, "the waters that were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament," clearly indicates that a discrimination as regards the state now under consideration is introduced. This' discrimination is that of the Internal Man from the External, and of the knowledges that belong to the Internal Man from those belonging to the External--a distinction manifestly of high practical importance. "Before man is regenerated, he does not so much as know that there is an Internal Man, much less does he know its nature and qualities. Being wholly occupied with corporeal and worldly things, in which the faculties of his Internal Man also are immersed, he cannot conceive of any difference between this and his External; and thus he forms a confused and obscure notion. of one single thing, from two perfectly distinct things.1


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 177 The next thing, therefore, with the man who is in the course of Regeneration, is that he begins to know that there is an Internal Man, and that the things for the culture and development of that are such goods and truths as are from the Lord alone: whereas those relating to the External Man are the things of self and the world, as regards both satisfactions and principles--which latter are of the nature of selfish and worldly knowledge, or "wisdom" so called. The Apostle's position begins to come home to him: "I delight in the law of God after the inward man; but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members" (Rom. vii. 22-3).

1 Arcana Coelestia, no. 24.

"And God called the firmament, Heaven." The "firmament" is the Internal Man--which is what is signified by "Heaven"--the clear discrimination of which, brought home at this stage, to the person undergoing; Regeneration, carries with it the discrimination between the things in him that are from the Lord, on the one hand, and those that are of and from the man himself and the world, on the other. For with every regenerating person there are both these classes of things. "And the evening and the morning were the second day."

With the third step, a new factor is introduced--the practical factor-signified by the "dry land" which now appears"; and actual fruits begin to be produced. "And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 178 And God called the dry land, Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called He Seas." The distinguishing feature of this new stage is the recognition that the spiritual life involves doing, and is not limited to, and indeed, does not truly consist in, thinking, believing, feeling--in, that is to say, states of mind and exercises o piety; and, also, that, unless these very proper and important, even necessary, matters be determined to amendment of life, and doing as the Lord teaches in our everyday business in the world, they will prove merely mental and perishable things, and will pass away. This perception, that it is not "saying, Lord, Lord," that leads to heaven and builds up the Kingdom of heaven within us, even though said-and thought and felt-never so earnestly, fervently and sincerely, but "DOING THE WILL of our Father who is in heaven" (Matt. Vii. 21), in our daily life in the world, is the "appearing" of the "dry land"; and it takes place by -means of the coming forth from the Internal Man into conscious thought and perception, of truths, or knowledges, which have been stored up there by the Lord against this time. The "gathering together" of these knowledges and truths from the Internal Man in the external, constitute the Memory, which is what "Seas" here signify; and the life in the world, to which . it is now perceived that all things of the spiritual life must be applied, is signified by "dry land," and "Earth." We saw, just above, that "Heaven" signifies the Internal Man: we now see, what the reader may thence have inferred, that "Earth," as the antithesis of Heaven, signifies the External Man--the antithesis of the Internal.



The work of this stage of Regeneration, however, is not merely the perception that actual living according to all the Lord's teachings in His Word is essential: it is also such actual living itself, in the bringing forth of the spiritual fruits of the "earth"; which are, in a word, "fruits meet for Repentance." This, in fact, is the stage of actual Repentance; which consists, not simply in a change of mind towards evil and sin, but in a change of life towards them. From this stage onwards, all evils of every kind forbidden in the Word, are eschewed; resisted and put away, because they are sins against God. This course of conduct, inspired by this motive, is the first actual step in the truly spiritual life, and constitutes, as is manifest, a new life. The life so regulated, and so inspired, is the "new life"; and there is no "new life" on any other terms. We do not leap, however, to the full maturity of the state all at once. It is a gradual, orderly progression and succession "first the blade; then the ear; and after that the full corn in the ear" (Mark iv. 28); or, first the "tender grass," then; the "seed-yielding herb," and, after that, the "tree bearing fruit, whose seed is in itself"--carrying with it a self-perpetuating faculty, which is the promise of yet further progress.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 180 When man has been prepared, by the perception of the absolute necessity of laving as the Lord teaches, which the knowledges from the Word which are with him have brought home to his bosom with living force and moving power, then the Lord first causes some trifling and feeble spiritual product to spring forth, which is here called the "tender grass": then something more fully informed with spiritual life, called "the herb yielding seed"; and, at length, something positively good, which becomes fruitful "the tree bearing fruit, whose seed is in itself"; each according to its own kind. This, then, is the third successive period in man's Regeneration, being his state of Repentance, and proceeding, like the former ones, from shade to light, from natural to spiritual, or from "evening" to "morning": "the evening and the morning were the third day."

The fourth state is evidently something more radical than a new "stage"; for it transfers the scene of the creative work from the earth and its vegetable products to the sky and the celestial. bodies, It is more fitly described as a new "epoch," the productions of which are not mere growths, or developments, but, more properly, "creations." The scene, "heaven," signifies, as before, the Internal Man, as the plane immediately concerned in this stage; and the heavenly luminaries, sun, moon and stars, which God "set" in it "to give light" upon the "earth," signify certain spiritual graces, which the Lord now, in virtue of the work of actual Repentance having been accomplished in the previous stage, is able to impart to the person undergoing Regeneration, and establish in his Internal Man, to the end that, in subsequent stages further regenerative achievements may be brought to pass by their means.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 181 The identity of these graces rests, of course, upon the correspondence of "sun," moon" and stars," and the significance they carry in the Spiritual Sense of the Word. This is, as regards the "sun," Love to the Lord; as regards the "moon," Faith in the Lord; and as regards the "stars," the scintillating, illuminative knowledges, or separate truths, which are the constituent substance of a true Faith. Love to the Lord forms the new will, or "new heart"; Faith in the Lord, the new understanding, or "new spirit," by which "spiritual things can be spiritually discerned" and no longer only naturally, and thus imperfectly and faultily, as hitherto; while the "stars" are the same knowledges of Divine things that have been all along possessed, but have now an illuminating effect upon the mind, derived from the Lord's new gift of living Faith, which they have never had before, and which constitutes them "stars" instead of "waters"--whether "above the firmament" or "under the firmament," in the form of clouds or in the form of seas. These "knowledges," in fact, are now raised out of the External Man into the Internal, and are actually no longer mere "knowledges," but "cognitions"--a term peculiar to the spiritual sense of the Word--which are, knowledges accompanied by a perception and realization of their absolute truth.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 182 This fourth stage is, therefore, the impartation by the Lord, and the reception from Him by the man, of the heavenly graces of Love to Him and Faith in Him, and the conversion, also by the Lord, of the man's natural "knowledges" into spiritual "cognitions" of Divine things; and thus the equipment and organizing of the Internal Man for the living of the fuller, richer spiritual life signified by the subsequent stages. From this time on, in his "spiritual" states (= "the day") or states of spiritual exaltation, the regenerating man lives his spiritual life from Love--"the greater light rules by day; in his "natural" states (= "the night"), or those in which the natural man is prominent and the spiritual, and its Love, as it were in the background, or in obscurity, for the time being, he lives by Faiththe lesser light rules by night"; in which latter states, likewise, he is more dependent upon his "cognitions" of Divine things than when Love is in the ascendant, and his spiritual man, consequently, active and efficient. "And God made two great luminaries: the greater luminary to rule by day, and the lesser luminary to rule by night; also, the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth ... and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day."

The attainments of the fifth stage of, Regeneration, which we now approach, are the result and product of the new conditions established by the Lord in the Internal Man, in the fourth, and are represented by the living things (a) of the waters and (b) of the airwhich are lower and higher planes, respectively; of the Understanding, and thus of "Faith."


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 183 It is when man lives his life from spiritual Love and Faith, that the things that constitute it--his thoughts and affections, his perceptions and aspirations, his mental states and bodily deeds, his shunning of evil and doing of good--begin to be really alive spiritually.

This seems to be the place to bring forth a truth of commanding importance to the understanding of the processes of Regeneration-the truth that, the stage of putting away gross and manifest evils and selfishnesses and worldlinesses from our external conduct, once passed-and this is, properly speaking, quite an early stage-spiritual progress does not consist in the outward, visible form of the life, but in its inward, invisible quality. The outward acts are the same as before, the same forms of piety continue to be used, the same proprieties observed, the same honesties and integrities in business practiced; and, in a word, to the outside observation there is no difference whatever to show that any change in the person's spiritual life is taking place. Yet, great changes may be occurring--in fact, changes certainly are occurring; for the spiritual life is never stationary, but always either progressing or retrograding. The changes, however, are, as said above, not in the outward form of the life but in its inward quality; and its, inward quality results from the principle from which the life is lived.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 184 Any one may see that even a life of obedience to the Divine Commandments affecting our relations with our fellowmen, if lived merely because we believe, as the Lord teaches, that "if we would enter into life" we must "keep the Commandments" (Matt. xix. 17), is of an entirely different spiritual quality from what it is if we conform to them because we love our neighbor, and do not wish, indeed cannot bear, to do him any of the injuries the Commandments in question forbid. In the one case, the Principle that informs our obedience is one of which the starting-point is self-even though it be self's well-being in eternity: in the other, it is one of which the neighbor is the starting-point. The one is egoistic: the other altruistic. Yet, in each case, the outer form of the life will be the same the difference is in spiritual quality, and hence in spiritual value, and depends wholly upon the inspiring motive. And spiritual progress, after the stage of putting away gross and manifest outward evils, consists. wholly in living our moral, civil, business, domestic and religious life in the world, from ever higher and purer MOTIVES.

Previous, therefore, to man's attainment of the fourth stage of Regeneration, and his reception, then, of the Lord's regenerative gifts of Love and Faith from which to live henceforth, even his best efforts were but a stretching forth to, a striving after, and indeed, a preparation for, truly SPIRITUAL life; for it is evident that the life is not truly spiritual before it is inspired by the spiritual graces of Love and Faith. Now, however, that, in the progress of Regeneration, man has received these heavenly graces in his Internal Man from the Lord, which actually are the Lord with him, he is able, for the first time, to live, spiritually.



The realization of this ability, however, in attained states, is, like all else in a Regenerate life, a progressive matter; and it consists in his living this life, now, FROM Love and Faith. And he has to train himself to do this. He still can live it from motives of "enlightened self-interest," out of regard to his own happiness in eternity, or to his own spiritual improvement in the present time: but he is led of the Lord, now, to gradually put away and dethrone these lower motives, and live from the higher ones now available to him. And, first, he begins by living it from Faith, or religious Principle; for, Faith, as a manifestly lower motive than Love, is nearer to his commencing level; and, first of all, it is from a Faith comparatively natural. His life then is truly living and spiritual in the lowest degree and is represented by the lowest living things--the fish of the sea. This plane being fulfilled and established, and his Faith being thereby opened more interiorly, and consequently become a fully "spiritual" Faith, he, from that loftier Faith, perceives higher and deeper spiritualities in life than ever before, and delights to fill the common acts of life, one after another, and more and more perfectly, as lie becomes more expert in it, with higher spiritualities thus brought within his vision and reach. His thoughts, affections, actions, aspirations, and the rest, are now of a higher. spiritual quality, and are represented by the higher living things of naturethe birds of the air.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 186 And, because everything that has life from the Lord in itas, at this point, everything has, although not yet in the highest degreefructifies and multiplies itself beyond measure and indefinitely, and vastly more so in the other life than in this, it is said of these productions (it was not so said in the case of vegetation), And God blessed them, and said, Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas; and let fowl multiply in the earth.

And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

The sixth stage has two stepsthe first represented by the land animals, the second by man. When man lives his life under the influence of Love, or of the NEW WILL (or new heart) in its various spiritual affections, every deed, word, thought and desire becomes inwardly alive with that Love, and is, in fact, some affection of spiritual Love, in ultimate form. The acts and other living activities of which it is made up, are, therefore, represented by the various land animals in their different ranks in the scale of organization and life; the progress sin the spiritual scale being indicated by the ascending degrees in the animal. Hence, then, it appears that man is in the fifth state of Regeneration, when he speaks and actsin a word, livesfrom Faith, which is of the Understanding, and confirms himself in truth and good thereby. The things then brought forth in his life are animate, and are here called the fish of the sea, and the birds of the heavens."


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 187 He is in the sixth state when he lives, from Faith in the Understanding-for he does not lose former attainments that are genuinely spiritual, in his subsequent progress-and from Love in the Will: what he then brings forth is called the living soul," the cattle" [more correctly, "beast"], the "creeping [or 'moving'] thing," and the "beast [more exactly, wild animal] of the earth."

The final step in this Spiritual stage of Regeneration, is the gathering up of the affections of spiritual Love and the intuitions of spiritual Faith into ONE, which embraces in itself all the genuinely spiritual and thus abiding attainments that have gone before, in the fully matured and developed Spiritual Man-the attainment of the "perfect man, the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph. iv. 13). This it is that is "the image of God." The attainments of the immediately preceding stages were "images" of things in God, as every separate animal, bird, fish, vegetable and mineral is the reduction to terms of matter of some particular affection of the Love and perception of the Wisdom of God; but man, who is "in little all the sphere," and all the constituents and denizens of the sphere, is more than that: he is the "image," among creatures, of the total Divine Nature from which we know that God Himself is Man--Infinite and Divine Man, certainly, but Man all the same.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 188 And so, as in concrete, personal man, the crowning work of God, all that went before in the order and succession of creation is gathered up and centered, so that he is actually the epitome of the universe, so in the Spiritual "Man," the crowning stage of God's spiritual , work of Regeneration, all that has preceded is gathered up and organized into a spiritual unit, compact of the new will, the spiritual male, and the new understanding, the spiritual "female," so perfectly conjoined in spiritual marriage union as to constitute one mind. "So God created man in His own image; in the image of God created He him: male and female created He them."

It is obvious, without our going into the details of the remaining verses of the, chapter, that they sum up and lay down the Divine order of the spiritual situation attained: that is, of the accomplished state of Regeneration, as regards the Spiritual Degree of the person undergoing it, or of the regenerated Spiritual Man. The dominant characteristic of the whole process from the beginning has been struggle, labor, conflict, perpetual striving, and climbing upward. It is on this account that in the 2nd chapter we read of God "resting," on the seventh day, "from all the work that He had made." "Rest" implies preceding labor, the occurrence of which, indeed, is distinctly expressed in the words cited. It is said that "God rested"--although God cannot get tired, or know struggle, or effort--because truly, and behind all appearances, the work of Regeneration is wholly the Lord's: the struggle and effort and conflict take, place; but they are experienced by the man, the Lord inspiring, strengthening and sustaining him in them, and at length giving him that final victory, and bringing him to, and establishing him in, the perfect manhood, "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ."



In this period of struggle and conflict the starting-point is always Truth, learned through external channels from the Word. The man learns the Lord's will by consulting the Truth of the Word; he finds the weapons for his spiritual warfare in the "It is written" of the Word; he builds his spiritual life, in general and in detail, on "every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God," on, namely, the Divine Truths of the Word. So, in this stage, the Understanding, the organ of truth, holds the higher, governing place in the spiritual life, and leads; and the Will, the organ of good (or, apart from Regeneration, of evil) holds the second place, and follows. There is, however, a state ahead of this, in which the start is from attained Good, in the new Will, in which, consequently, that new, Will holds the highest place, and leads, and the Understanding takes a subordinate place, and follows whither the Will leads the way. This is the crowning state of all, which, when it is reached and perfected is called the "Celestial Man"; and the spiritual evolution of the Celestial Man, by Regeneration carried still farther, is what is treated of in the, second story of "Creation" which occupies the 2nd chapter of Genesis.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 190 In that continuation of Regeneration, under which from Spiritual man is made Celestial, the ORDER of the process is different; and herein lies the explanation of the differences and inconsistencies (from the literal point of view) between the two accounts of the Creation. It is not Creation, but Regeneration, that is treated of, in both chapters: in the 1st, the primary Regeneration, by which, from Natural, man is made Spiritual; in the 2nd, the secondary Regeneration, under which, from Spiritual, man (if, by continued obedience and co-operation, He permits the Lord to carry His Regenerative work to its climax) is made Celestial; and it is because (as just stated) the order of the secondary, or Celestial, Regeneration, differs from the order of the primary, or Spiritual, that the order of Creation given in the 2nd chapter differs from the order given in the 1st. The reason, therefore, is a spiritual one; it arises out of the proved nature of the Divine Word, as having its real meaning in its Spiritual Sense and not in its Literal; and it reconciles all contradictions and solves all difficulties. "The flesh profiteth nothing it, is THE SPIRIT that quickeneth: the words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit and they are life."



12.--Parallel View of Literal and Spiritual Senses of Genesis i.

IN the last chapter the reader has been led in a descriptive and constructive manner, although most briefly, through the Spiritual Sense of the 1st chapter of Genesis, and has, it is hoped, gathered a fair general idea of the sort of difference that the Spiritual Sense now revealed makes to the Word. The first difference is, that, where the subject ,in the Letter is not spiritual at all, but natural, and the form quasi-scientific, it exhibits this natural Letter as carrying within it, as its inner and real sense; a meaning that is exclusively spiritual, in subject, scope and detail, directly bearing upon salvation, regeneration and eternal life. And it effects a like transformation in everything whatsoever that is truly "the Word of God"--no matter how:dark, unpromising, or even forbidding and false it may be under a literal construction. It is the same in the Old Testament histories, with their; grossnesses and cruelties and idolatries; in the unspiritual Jewish ritual, which formed that debased nation's idea of religion and worship;


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 192 in the Psalms, both of exulting and elevating praise, and of shocking imprecation; in obscurest prophecy, apparently concerned with the temporal fates of nations in the world,--and sometimes wholly unintelligible on any literal construction; in Messianic prediction, apparently looking to a merely national champion of an unworthy people; in the Gospel history, and parable and prophecy, more attractive, pleasing and spiritually instructive than those of the Old Testament, though by no means free from difficulties, critical, theological and even moral; and, finally, in the "sealed book" of Apocalyptic vision with which the Divine Word closes. All alike, and all equally, when their Spiritual Sense is unfolded, realize, in the fullest manner, the Apostolic standard of "God-inspired Scripture," as being demonstrably, "profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness," and as "thoroughly furnishing the man of God unto--every good work" (2 Tim. iii. 16-17).

But, while the reader will probably concede that an interpretation that can do for all Scripture, truly so called, what this does for the 1st chapter of Genesis, goes a long way towards vindicating its Divinity, by establishing its spirituality--if, only, it can be shown that this sense' is its real sense and is not merely asserted to be: about which more in our next chapter--he will, it is believed, obtain a clearer view of it, and thus be in, a better position for forming a judgment upon it, if it is brought before him in a smaller compass.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 193 With this end in view, we propose, in this chapter, to as it were "focus" what we have given more discursively in our last chapter, by placing a succinct statement of the Spiritual Sense, verse by verse, in parallel columns with the literal sense. We now, therefore, offer this condensed presentation of the 1st chapter of Genesis, with "the Letter" and "the Spirit" side by side

THE LETTER.*                                   THE SPIRIT.*
1. In the beginning1 God2 created3                      1. The primary purpose1 of all
the heavens 4 and the earths.5                     Divine Truth2

                                                 --thus of the Word-is that man

                                                 should be regenerated,3 as to

                                                 both his internaL4 and his

                                                 external5 man.
2. And the earth 1 was without form3 and;        2. At the outset his external
void,3 and darkness4 was upon       the face of              man1 is entirely destitute2, 3
the deep5; and the Spirit6 of God moved              of both goods and truth3
[or,brooded"7) upon the face of the waters.8       that are really such, and has

                                                 no perception4 whatever of the                                                        deep things of God5; and in this

                                                 state, the first thing is that

                                                 the Lord's Mercy6 insensibly

                                                 operates upon, and imparts some

                                                 faint movement to,7 his

                                                 knowledges8 of spiritual and

                                                 Divine things, derived from

                                                 instruction, hitherto

3. And God said,1 Let there be light2; and        3. Divine Order requires,1 that
there was3 light                                          man should have, at first, a

                                                 general perception3 of higher

                                                 good and truth than he has yet

                                                 conceived--and, firstly, as

                                                 regards the Understanding; which

                                                 he, accordingly, comes into3-

                                                 but, secondly, as regards the


*The index figures are to enable the reader to see at a glance the expression in the Literal Sense, in the first column, to which the specific points of the Spiritual Sense, given in the second column, answers For a first perusal, however, the reader will probably do well to disregard them, and to concentrate attention on the general sense of the whole statement.



4: And God1 saw2 the light3 that               4. Divine Truth1 teaches2 that this
it was good.4 And God5 divided6 the              general perception3 of higher good
light7 from the darkness,8                     and truth is from the Lord4; and the
and God1 called the light,9 Day10;               Lord5 gives man to discern a
and the darkness11 He called Night.12       distinction6 between the things that

                                          are of the Lord7 with him, which are

                                          true, and the things that are of

                                          self,8 which are false; and that the

                                          former9 things constitute a

                                          Spiritual10 state with him, and the

                                          latter11 a Natural12 state.
5. And the evening1 and the morning2        5. This progression from a state of
were the first day.3                            shade, falsity and non-faith,1 to one

                                          of brightness, truth and faith 2 is

                                          the First state3 of Regeneration.
6. And God said,1 Let there be               6. Divine Order requires1 that
a firmament2 in the midst of the               man should next perceive that he
waters, and let it divide3 the waters4       possesses a higher2 nature than
from the waters.5                                   that of which alone he has previously

                                          been aware, and that he should

                                          discriminate3 between the knowledges

                                          pertaining to the one4 and those

                                          pertaining to the other5; and,

                                          firstly, as regards the


* See footnote to verses ii and 12, below.

7. And God1 made2 the firmament,3 and        7. The Lord,1 now, accordingly, gives2 divided4 the waters5 which were under        to the regenerating man to discern
the firmament3 from the waters5 which       that he has such higher nature,3
above the firmament3; and it was so.       and to distinguish4 the Knowledges5

                                          pertaining to his lower6 nature from

                                          those5 pertaining to the higher3-

                                          here, as regards the will.*

* See footnote to verse 11, below.



8. And God called the firmament,1               8. The higher nature1 thus brought to
Heaven.2 And the evening3 and                     man's apprehension, is the Internal
the morning4 were the second day.5              man.2 This advance also proceeds from

                                          its feebleness and obscurity3 to its

                                          power and brightness,4 and constitutes

                                          the Second state5.
9. And God said,1 Let the waters2               9. Divine Order requires1 that
that are under3 the heavens be gathered       the knowledges2
together unto one place4; and let              of truth and good (hitherto hidden
the dry land5 appear6; and it       was so.7       away in the higher, but) now brought

                                          to light in the lower mind,3 should

                                          next be arranged in order,4 and the

                                          truth that regeneration is a matter of

                                          the common everyday life,5 be

                                          discerned6; which, accordingly, now

                                          takes place7--and firstly as regards

                                          the Understanding.
10. And God called the dry1 land,               10. This common daily life constitutes
Earth2; and the gathering together4              the External man2; in the Memory3
of the waters3 called5 He Seas6:              of which the knowledges3 of truth and
and God7 saw8 that it was good.9              good from within, are now stored up,4

                                          and are signified,5 by "Seas"; and

                                          Divine Truth7 reveals8 that this also

                                          is of the Lord alone9--here, as

                                          regards the Will.
11. And God1 said,* Let the earth2               11. The Divine Order1 at this stage
bring forth3 tender grass4 [A. V.,               is that the External man2 must
margin], the herb yielding seed,5              produce3 "fruits meet for Repentance,"
and the fruit tree yielding fruit8              in their order, first in an outermost
after his kind, whose seed is in               form,4 then in a more interior,5
itself,7 upon the earth8;                      and lastly in one more interior
and it was so.9                                   still,6 which last would be as it were

                                          self-perpetuating7 in the daily

                                          conduct8; which, accordingly, takes

                                          place9; and, firstly, as regards the




* In the repetitions which form so conspicuous a feature of this chapter, and are so especially marked in these verses, we have an illustration of a characteristic frequently encountered in the Divine Word; which is luminously explained in The Arcana Coelestia, in the course of the spiritual exposition of the account of the Deluge, thus: Here [in Gen. vii], as far as the fifth verse, are found almost the same things that were said in the previous chapter, merely changed m some little measure; and it is the same in the verses that follow. One who is not acquainted with the spiritual sense of the Word cannot but think that this is merely a repetition of the same thing. Similar instances occur in other parts of the Word; especially in the Prophets, where the same thing is expressed in different words, and sometimes is also taken up again and described a second time. But the reason is that there are two faculties in man which are most distinct from each other--the Will and the Understanding--and in the Word the two are treated of distinctly. This is the reason of the repetition (n. 707).
Thus, on the first occasion, in all such cases, one of these faculties--the Understanding--is treated of in the Spiritual Sense, and on the second, the other--the Will; as shown throughout the present chapter.

12. *And the earth1 brought forth2              12. The External man1 brings forth2
tender grass,3 and herb yielding               the practical fruit of actual
seed4 after his kind, and the tree              Repentance, in the putting away
yielding fruit5 whose seed was in               of evils, first in act,3 next in itself,6 after his kind: and God7               thought and intention4 and lastly
saw8 that it was good.9                      in purpose and will5; a work which,

                                          from this point onwards, goes on
                                                 continually6--here, as regards the

                                          Will.* This also, Divine Truth7

                                          reveals,8 is of the Lord alone.9
13. And the evening1 and the morning2        13. This advance also proceeds
were the third day.3                            from its obscurity and feebleness1

                                          (to its brightness and power,2 and                                                         constitutes the Third state.3


14. And God said,1 Let there be               14. Divine Order requires that
luminaries2 in the expanse of the              centers, as it were, of spiritual
heavens3to divide4 the day5 from the       enlightenment2 be now established
night6; and let them be for signs7 and        in the Internal man,3 to enable
for seasons 7 and for days 7 and               the regenerating person to
for years7;                                          discriminate4 between Spiritual5

                                          states and Natural,6 and likewise to

                                          discriminate all the varieties and

                                          changes7 of state through which he has

                                          yet to pass in his spiritual

15. and let them be for luminaries1        15. and to be centers of
in the expanse of the heavens2              enlightenment1 in the Internal man2
to give3 light upon the earth4: and it       whence enlightenment should be
was so.5                                          communicable3 to the External;4 all

                                          which, accordingly, comes to pass5

                                          and, firstly, as to the Understanding.
16. And God1 made2 two great                      16. The Lord1 accordingly endows2
luminaries3: the greater4 luminary              man with two main centres3 of
to rule5 the day,6 and the lesser7              spiritual enlightenment: the higher
luminary to rule5       the night8: also               and more excellent4 (which is Love),
the stars.9                                          to govern5 him in his Spiritual6

                                          states, and the lower and less

                                          excellent,7 (which is Faith), to

                                          govern5 him in his Natural8 states:

                                          and gives to man's cognitions* of good

                                          and truth9 a measure of enlightening

                                          quality not previously possessed.

* For the meaning of "cognitions" see the previous Chapter, p. 182 above.



17. And God1 set2 them in the expanse        17. The Lord' also establishes2 these
of the Heavens3 to give light4 upon        spiritual graces in the Internal3
the earth,5                                          man for the enlightenment4 of the

18. and to rule1 over the day2 and               18. and to guide and govern1 the
over the night3 and to divide4              man in his Spiritual2 and Natural3
the light5 from the darkness6 and God7       states, and to enable him to
saw8 that it was good.9                            distinguish4 between truth5 and

                                          falsity6 here, as regards the Will;

                                          Divine Truth revealing8 all as being

                                          of the Lord alone.9
19. And the evening1 and the morning2        19. This advance also proceeds from
were the fourth day.3                             its obscurity and feebleness1 to its

                                          brightness and power2 and constitutes

                                          the Fourth state.3
20. And God1 said,2 Let the waters3        20. Divine Orderl requires2 that,
bring forth abundantly the creeping*4        next, man's knowledges3 of good and
thing, the living soul,*5 and let              truth, which are on the lower plane,4
fowl6 fly*7 above8 the earth, in the       shall become animated by spiritual
face*9of the expanse of the heavens.10       life,5 and likewise his thoughts6 from

                                          them, which rise7 to the higher,8 and

                                          look towards9 the Internal man10

                                          (and thus to the Lord)--and, firstly,

                                          as to the Understanding.

* For all these readings, see margin of Authorized Version.

21. And God1 created2 great                      21. The Lord1 now accordingly
sea-monsters3[R.V.], and every4 living       regenerates2(or causes truly to
soul that creepeth, which the waters5       "live") all man's knowledge5 of good
brought forth abundantly after their        and truth, both general2 and
kind, and every winged6 fowl7 after        particular4 (by leading him to speak
his kind: and God8 saw9 that it              and act from Faith), and, likewise,
was good.10                                          the heavenward6-looking thoughts7 of

                                          his understanding; all which Divine

                                          Truth8 reveals9 as being of the Lord



22. And God blessed1 them, saying,               22. These truly living productions
Be fruitful2 and multiply,3 and fill4        of Faith in the Lord, possess from the
the waters5 in the seas6; and let              Lord1 the faculty of fructifying
fowl7 multiply in the earth.8                     as to good2 and multiplying as to

                                          truths,3 to an indefinite extent,4

                                          both the things of knowledge,5 on

                                          their lowest plane5 of the mind, and

                                          the thoughts7 of the understanding, on

                                          their higher plane8--here, as to the

23. And the evening1 and the morning2        23. This advance, also, proceeds
were the fifth day.3                            from its obscurity and feebleness1 to

                                          its brightness and power,2 and

                                          constitutes the Fifth state.3
24. And God said,1 Let the earth2               24. Divine Order requires1 that,
bring forth3 the living soul4 after              next, the external life2 shall be
his kind,5 the beast6 and moving              animated3 by the Affections of love4
thing,7 and the wild animal8 of the        from the new will, in general and in
earth after his kind5: and it was so.9       particular,5 in lowest,6 higher 7 and
                                                 highest8 degrees: all which,

                                          accordingly, comes to pass9--and,

                                          firstly, as to the Understanding.
25. And God1 made2 the wild animal3        25. The Lord1 now perfect2 the
of the earth4 after his kind,7              highest3 affections, of the external4
and the beast5 after his kind,7              man, and its lower5 and lowest6
and everything that creepeth9 upon               affections, all in their own
the earth after his kind7; and God              spiritual order7 and connection
saw9 that it was good.10                      --here, as to the Will; all which,

                                          Divine Truth8 reveals9 as being of the

                                          Lord10 alone.


26. And God said,1 Let US3 make2 man6        26. Divine Order requires1 that the
in our image,4 after our likeness5:              work of Regeneration2 shall now be
and let them have dominion7 over the        carried by THE LORD,* WITH AND THROUGH
fish8       of the sea;9 and over the fowl10       THE MINISTRY OF* ANGELS3 over the
of the air,11 and over the beast,12              spiritual4 degree of the mind as a
and over all the earth,13 and over               whole, and over the celestial5 degree
every creeping thing that creepeth14        as a whole, in turn; and that the
upon the earth.                                   Spiritual Man,6 which will then be

                                          fully regenerated, shall govern and

                                          direct7 all the knowledges8 in the

                                          memory9 of the external man, all the

                                          thoughts10 of the understanding,11 and

                                          all the affections,12 in their due

                                          order and subordination, and indeed

                                          over the whole external man13 itself,

                                          and everything constituent14 of it-

                                          and, firstly, as to the Understanding.

* This is in allusion to the doctrine, so clearly intimated in the Epistle to the Hebrews (i. 14)--" re they [the angels] not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?"--that the Lord utilizes the ministry of angels in the Regeneration and salvation of man, to assist him in his conflict against the evil spirits, also present with him, who, by inflowing into his evil propensities of all kinds, stir them into activity, and thus bring him into temptation-as well as in other ways. "Whilst man is unregenerate, he is governed [from the spiritual world] in a manner altogether different from what takes place after regeneration. Whilst he is unregenerate, evil spirits are with him, ruling over him in such a manner that the angels, notwithstanding they are present, can scarcely do more than restrain him from plunging himself into the lowest depths of mischief, and incline him to some sort of good. In this state, he has communication, by means of his associate [good] spirits, with the World of Spirits; but he has not the like communication with Heaven, because evil spirits have dominion over him, and the angels only avert their influences. When, however, he becomes regenerate, then the angels have the dominion, and inspire him with whatever is good and true, at the same time infusing a dread and fear of what is evil and false. As this dominion is effected by means of the ministry of angels, it is, in Gen. i. 26, first said, in the Plural, Let US make man in OUR image; but, as the Lord alone governs and disposes [though by means of angels], in the following verse it is added, in the singular, GOD created [singular number] man in HIS image" (Arcana Coelestia, n. 50).



27. So God1 created2 man3 in His own4        27. Accordingly, the Lord alone1
image; in the image of God5 made He              extends the work of Regeneration2 over
him; male6 and female7 created He them.        the whole spiritual mind, and thus

                                          makes man fully Spiritual,3 as

                                          regards both Faith4 and Love,5 and as

                                          to both Understandings and Will.7
28. And God blessed2 them1; and God        28. This now fully-regenerated Will
said3 unto them, Be fruitful,4              and Understanding1 have from
and multiply, and replenish7 the               the Lord,2 as the law and order3
earth8 and subdue3 it: and have              of their state, the faculty of
dominion9 over the fish 10 of the               perpetual fructification of good4
sea,11 and over the fowl12 of the              and multiplication of truths,5
air,13 and over every14 living15              whence the external6 abounds7 with
thing that moveth upon the earth.16              these and is kept in due

                                          subordination8 thereby; they

                                          governing9 and directing the

                                          knowledge,10 in its memory,11 the

                                          thoughts12 of its understanding,13 and

                                          in general14 everything truly

                                          spiritual's constituent of it.15
29. And God said,1 Behold, I give               29. It is also of the order1 of the
you2 every herb3 bearing seed which        fully-regenerated Spiritual mind,
is upon the face of all the earth,4        that it is sustained2 by every truth
in the which is the fruit5 of a               that looks to use3 in the outward
tree6 yielding seed7: to you it               every good5 of Faith6; life,4 and
shall be for meat.8                            which are the appropriate food8 of the

                                          Spiritual 7 mind;


30. And to every wild animal1 of the        30. and that all the Voluntary
earth,2 and to every fowl3 of       the              affections1 of the externa1 man, and
air,4 and to everything5, that               all the thoughts3 of its
creepeth6 upon the earth,2 wherein               understanding,4 and in general5
there is a living sou1,7 I give every        everything derived from6 the
green herb8 for meat9: and it               internal man that is in the
was10 so.                                          external,2 and which has in it life

                                          from the Lord,7 shall be sustained

                                          by external truth that looks to

                                          obedience,3 which is their appropriate

                                          spiritual food:9 all which order is

                                          accepted10 by the regenerated

                                          Spiritual man.
31. And God1 saw2 everything3 that He        31. The Divine Truth1 directed upon2
had made,4 and behold it was very5              the completed3 work of Spiritual
good.6 And the evening7 and the              regeneration,4 exhibits it as
morning8 were the sixth10 day.9              altogether5 from the Lord6

                                          alone. This, advance, also, proceeds

                                          from its obscurity and feebleness7 to

                                          its brightness and power8 and

                                          constitutes the Sixth state,9 which is

                                          the Spiritual10 Man.

Thus, "the times and states of man's Regeneration in each and all things, are divided into six, and are called days of his 'creation'; for, by degrees, from not-Man at all, he becomes first somewhat, but little, of Man, and afterwards more and more even to the sixth day, when he becomes an Image of God. During this progress, the Lord fights continually for him against evils and falsities, and by means of the combats establishes him in truth and good. The time of combat is the time of the Lord's 'work,' for which reason a regenerated person is called in the Prophets the 'work of the fingers of God' nor does He 'rest' until Love takes the lead. Then combat ceases. When the work has so far progressed that Faith is conjoined with Love, it is then called very good, because the Lord then leads man as His 'likeness.'


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 203 At the end of the `sixth day,' the evil spirits retire, and good spirits take their place, and man is introduced into Heaven, or into the Heavenly Paradise,--which is what is treated of in the following chapter.

"This, then, is the Internal Sense of the Word,-its very essential life, which does not at all appear from the sense of the Letter; but the arcana contained are so numerous, that volumes would not suffice for their full unfolding. Here only a few things are mentioned, and indeed such things as serve to prove that Regeneration is here treated of, and that it advances from the external man as the start, to the internal as the goal. It is thus that the angels perceive the Word" (Arcana Coelestia, n. 62-64).


"The heavens and the earth, and all the host of them' [Gen. ii.; I] are said to be ` finished' when man completes the sixth day; for then Faith and Love make one, and when these make one, not Faith but Love, that is not the Spiritual but the Celestial, begins to take the lead, that is, man begins to be Celestial" (ibid., 84). The process of the development, even to full fruition, of that "Celestial" state, thus initiated, is the theme; in the Internal Sense, of the and chapter of Genesis, from the 4th to the 17th verses; concerned in the Letter with the second, or so-called "Jehovist" account of the Creation.

It has been noted, in passing, that, in the "Spiritual" stage of Regeneration, the person undergoing it acts from Divine Truth throughout.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 204 It is for this reason that through the whole of chapter i, and up to the end of the 3rd verse of chapter ii, from which point the Spiritual stage ceases to be treated of, the Lord is uniformly spoken of as "God" (Hebrew, elohim); which term, in the Internal Sense, signifies the Lord as to Divine Truth, and, abstractly, Divine Truth itself. From Gen. ii. 4 onwards, however, the subject is the further stage of Regeneration by which, from Spiritual, man may become Celestial; and the Divine name, "Jehovah" (printed "LORD," in capital letters, in our English Bibles), begins to be used. Now, in this Celestial stage of Regeneration, man acts not from Truth but from Good; and the name "Jehovah" signifies, in the Internal Sense, the Lord as to Divine Good, and, abstractly, Divine Good itself; and the former circumstance is the explanation of the latter.

Because, moreover, the start, in every step of this "Celestial" and crowning stage of Regeneration, treated of in the Internal Sense of chapter ii, is from Good and no longer from Truth, the order is in many respects different; and it is this difference of the order of Regeneration in the Celestial stage, unfolded in the Internal sense of chapter ii, as compared with that of the Spiritual stage, unfolded in the Internal Sense of chapter i, that--occasions and accounts for all the differences in the order of Creation presented in the literal sense of the two chapters.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 205 These two "Creation" stories, therefore, are not quasi-scientific accounts of the order of the creation of the material universe, to be literally construed and judged by their agreement with one another and with established scientific truth on that subject, but "parables" of the order and succession of the work of Regeneration, first in its Spiritual stage in chapter ii; and secondly in its Celestial stage in chapter ii; which two stages following a different order of development, necessitates the assignment of a different order in the "Creation" apparently described in the literal sense.

So viewed, these differences and apparent inconsistencies, so far from militating against the Divinity and Divine Authorship of this portion of the Word of God, tend powerfully to establish them.

Herein lies the clue to the problem of the "Elohist" and "Jehovist" elements of the Word, upon which, through ignorance of the Spiritual Sense, allied to a rationalistic and naturalistic repugnance to the very idea of Divine Revelation, Modern Biblical Criticism has built up its "documentary hypothesis"--for which, be it well noted, there is not one shred of external evidence--with all its fantastic and inherently incredible theories, which it calls upon us to accept in place of the plain, simple testimony of the Scriptures themselves.

It is one of the outstanding merits of the Spiritual Sense of the Word which we are endeavoring to present to our readers, that it furnishes a satisfactory and rational solution of the real problems that underlie the "Higher" Criticism, and thus affords a refuge from a device the only ultimate issue of which is to rob mankind of any real Word of God.



But the fuller exhibition of this feature of the doctrine of the Internal Sense of the Word, must be postponed to a subsequent chapter.














13.--"Correspondences" and Representatives."

IN the preceding chapter, we have placed before the reader, in a concise form, a statement of the Spiritual Sense of the 1st chapter of Genesis, as given in the series of works in which the Spiritual Sense of the Word has been made known, side by side with the Literal Sense of that chapter; and the reader is thus in a position to compare them at a glance. He may read the whole Spiritual Sense consecutively, from the beginning to the end, just as he has been in the habit, all his life, of reading the Literal Sense; and, if he does so, he will find that it contains rationally coherent instruction on a subject--Regeneration (by which man is, and by which alone he can be, prepared for heaven, John iii. 3)--on which it is, manifestly, of vital consequence to him, as an immortal being, to be informed.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 211 The instruction itself, also, will commend itself to the intelligent reader as rationally sound, and morally and spiritually admirable--such, perhaps, that, on its merits, he is quite prepared to accept it as true.

But the question will arise, "How comes this so-called 'Spiritual Sense,' and this undoubtedly spiritual instruction, which commends itself to my mind as valuable and probably true, to be the Spiritual, or Inner Sense, of that Literal Sense about the creation of the external universe? On the one hand, there is a definite literal meaning, dependent on and resulting from the dictionary and grammatical sense of the words used: on the other hand, is a 'sense,' equally definite, certainly, the excellence and value of which I fully grant, and which is declared to be the spiritual meaning of these literal statements, whose literal meaning is so entirely different. But how am I to know that the latter is 'the spiritual meaning' of the former? How can I tell that something else is not the proper spiritual meaning of this part of the Letter, and that this is not the proper spiritual meaning of some other part of the Letter-or, indeed, that this is the spiritual meaning of any part of the Letter, and not merely an independent statement unconnected with anything in the Letter of the Word at all?"

It is at once evident that these questions are of the most vital importance, and imperatively must be answered. We may put the situation in a different light by considering the Literal sense, or outer form, as a casket; said to contain jewels; and the inner meaning as the "jewels" the casket is said to contain, and to exist for the sake of containing.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 212 "On the one hand," it may be urged, "we have what you call the casket, which we have always known, and have heretofore supposed to be all there is--not a casket containing treasure, but the very treasure itself: on the other, we have what you call the 'jewels,' not known of hitherto, but their value and beauty, now they are known, acknowledged; but--no evidence that the jewels came out of the casket, or were ever in it. They may have come out of it; but we did not see them taken out, and we see no proof that they were ever in." But, in whatever light the position is presented, the position itself must be faced.

(1) We reached the sure conclusion, several chapters back, that, in the nature of the case, only the Lord Himself '1 is competent to know, certainly, what the Spiritual Sense of His Word is, and consequently to make it known. We perceive, now, that; not only is a revelation of the Spiritual Sense itself needed, but also something else--a revelation of the nexus, or connecting link, between the literal and spiritual senses--by which men may be enabled to see, as it were with their own eyes, that the Spiritual Sense postulated is the Spiritual Sense of the part of the Letter to which it is assigned.

This also has been done! Side by side with the Spiritual Sense revealed, and constituting part of the revelation, has also been given the law of the connection between the Spiritual Sense and the natural.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 213 This, obviously, is the very thing that is required.

The name of this law is "Correspondence"; given, because that (as shown in Chapter 8)1 is the nature of the relation that exists between the inner and outer senses of the Divine Word. The Spiritual Sense "corresponds" to the natural, and the natural to the Spiritual, just as accurately, certainly and necessarily as the reflection of an object in a faithful mirror corresponds to the object itself before the mirror. just as certainly; but NOT in the same manner. The manner, or mode, of the "correspondence," here, is seen in the light of the Lord's saying, so often called in evidence about the nature of His Word: "The FLESH [or BODY] profiteth nothing: it is the Spirit that quickeneth: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they, are life." It is a correspondence such as exists between the "spirit," or soul, or mind, and the "flesh," or body, of a living man. Not only is there a soul and a body to every expression of the Divine Word--it is of the separate "words" of it that the declaration is specifically made--but their "soul" and "body" are related to one another as are the soul and body of a man. And this is our clue. In both, it is the "soul" that causes the "body" to live: and, equally, it is, the spiritual element, or "soul," that is signified by the natural element, or "body." For it must be constantly borne in mind that the error of the Jews--of the Lord's reproof and correction of which the dictum before us is the final word--was that of taking certain wards of His in a natural sense instead of a spiritual, or literally instead of spiritually.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 214 Not merely are the Lord's words to be taken in a spiritual sense; but in the spiritual sense which properly belongs to them.

1 See pp. 125-130, above.

Turning, then, to the relation existing between the soul and the body, for enlightenment as to the nature of the precise point here, we find it typified (as seen in the former analysis, just referred to) in the face, the manifest bodily "index of the mind"; in which the spirit exhibits itself and its passing states, every moment of waking life. Seeing a frown on the face, we infer the "affection" of annoyance, or some other form of pain in the mind, or spirit; seeing a sneer, we infer the "affection" of contempt accompanied by irritation, or dislike; seeing a genial smile, we infer the "affection" of geniality; seeing a dull, expressionless eye while we are giving some explanation, we infer the uncomprehending or uninterested mind; noting the sudden flash of light in the eye as we continue our explanation, we infer the awakening of interest, or apprehension of our point; and, apart from dissimulation in the person whose countenance we have been observing, we shall have inferred truly in all these cases.

Now, at the risk of repetition--for the point we are trying to make is a highly important one--we raise the question, Why have we inferred these mental or spiritual affections and states from those natural, or bodily, facial expressions?


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 215 Clearly, because the expression of the face, in each case, is produced by the spiritual, or mental, "affection" we inferred from it. For that reason, and for no other. The facial expression, which is of the body, or "flesh," is the effect of the mental "affection," which is of the spirit"; and the latter is the cause of the former. This is why they "correspond" to one another, and why the expression "signifies" the affection, or is the "sign" of it in the body.

All this is well known to every one, whether all have so analyzed the phenomenon we are examining as to formulate the fact in definite thought, or not. It does not, perhaps, occur to many to inquire how it comes about, that the passing affections, emotions and states of the mind, an immaterial entity, are able to produce these effects, to thus write and portray themselves, in the face of the body, a material entity?


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 216 Yet, there must be a reason for this truly wonderful fact. And there is only one reason: the reason that, in some uncomprehended way, as far as we are concerned, the body itself, in the process of its creation, was brought into existence by means of the soul, or spirit, or, mind.

This is putting the thing in its largest form; in which it does not so clearly appear, if indeed it appears at all. Well, take it in a more limited extent--in the case of the eye, for example.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 217 We have noted hat the sudden coming into effect of intelligence, a function of the understanding, actually produces, causes, gives birth to,--"creates," if the reader will--that sudden flash of light in the eye; and if the intellectual act of comprehension have been gradual instead of sudden, the lighting up of the eye will have been gradual, in like manner. How would it be possible for the understanding to thus produce effects in THE EYE, unless there were some vital, creative relation between the understanding and the eye, unless, in short, the eye itself had been brought into existence, in the first instance, by, i. e. by means of, the understanding as its producing cause, just as the light in the eye has been, as we know, brought into existence by the activity of the understanding in a specified direction? There is absolutely no other explanation; and explanation there must be for such a marvelous and universal circumstance. This explanation, moreover, must be admitted to be reasonable, and, in reality, inevitable.

And, since this is true of a department of the spirit, or mind--for the mind is of the spirit, just as the skin is of the body--in relation to a specific part of the body, how shall we escape the conclusion that it is true of the whole spirit in relation to the whole body--namely, that the body as a whole, and in all its parts, derived its existence, originally, in the processes of birth, or creation, from the spirit as a whole and all its parts? How, indeed, should it be true of any one part, except because it is true of the whole? In such things the part does not differ from the whole: on the contrary, it owes its characteristics to the whole of which it is a part.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 218 This is the real secret of the fact that the whole and every part of the body--as to both voluntary and involuntary organs and functions, is "animated" by the spirit or soul. Truly, but for the fact of any given body, as a material form, being the created effect of its soul, it could not possibly be animated by it, and respond to its action upon it, as it does. Its responsiveness to the spirit is the result, necessarily, of a perfect "correspondence" with it, as a whole and in detail; and this perfect correspondence of the body with the spirit, would not be possible if the spirit were not, in the processes of creation, the producing cause, in the hands of God the Creator, of which the body is the actual produced effect.

We know, moreover, that the body subsists, or continues in existence, from the spirit or soul. Of this truth, immediate death and subsequent decomposition and ultimate resolution of the body into its natural elements, on the separation of the soul, or spirit, from it, is the final and undeniable proof. And, in view of this fact, as of all the facts we have here passed in review, unless the known relations between the spirit and the body are simply an elaborate series of mere coincidences, whether accidental or designed--a conclusion from which rational thought promptly revolts, and which no sensible person would for a moment maintain--there is no escaping the conclusion that this marvelous correspondential relation, all along the line, from1 beginning to end of their co-existence, between the soul and the body, arises from, and proves, an original causal relation between them, by which the soul, or spirit, is the proximate cause in the hands of the Creator, by which He creates the body in a word, in this secondary sense, that



"Soul is Form and cloth the Body make."

This, then, is the true relation of soul or "spirit," and body or "flesh"--a relation of which the appropriate name is "correspondence," which, traced back to origins, is the relation of "cause" and "effect"; and it is, according to the Lord Jesus Christ, the relation that exists between the natural and spiritual senses of His "words"--and hence of His Word as a whole--in His clearly implied comparison of them to a living man consisting of "spirit," or soul, and "flesh," or body.

This, in relation to the Word, is a highly illuminating truth. It exhibits--as we have shown earlier, and hope to illustrate later--the "Letter" as an, as it were, organic creation, resulting from, and produced by, the "Spirit," and, therefore, standing in a relation of perfect and detailed "correspondence" with it. It is, consequently, no arbitrary or artificial relation, but an altogether inevitable and natural one.

(2) But can we stop here?--that is to say, at the conclusion that the spirit and the body of a man stand in the creative relation of producing "cause" and, produced "effect"? Is not the whole question of Creation at large involved in it?



The real "riddle of the universe," is, how Spirit produces its effects on matter--what the vital relation between them is. In the case of the mind and body of living human beings, we have a case in point, which comes home to the experience and consciousness of every man and woman, and which, when carried to its logical conclusion, exhibits the spiritual soul and the material body as standing in the creative relation of cause and effect. The question is, Does not the essential logic of things carry us even farther than this? Have we not, in the case of the human spirit and body, the type of the essential relation between Spirit and Matter, or the Spiritual and the Material, according to which the Spiritual is universally Cause and the Material universally Effect, and, ultimately, of the relation between God the Creator, the Infinite Spirit, on the one hand, and the universal Creation, spiritual and material, on the other? We admit that this conclusion seems to us irresistible; and we have a large confidence that the more the situation is rationally, and without prejudice, pondered, the more it will commend itself to the reader also.

Whither, now, does this manifestly important, as well as exceedingly wide, induction, carry us, as regards the work of Creation as a whole?


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 221 As regards creation on the material plane, or the creation of the material universe, it carries us to the position that all created objects are, in like manner, caused or produced by means of Spiritual forces and realities, and therefore "correspond" to those spiritual forces to which as their causes, they owe their original and continued existence, and that the material world, or universe, as a whole, is related to, the spiritual universe as a whole as an effect to its cause, and therefore stands in a relation of "correspondence" with it; which "correspondence" is the means of, and the clue to, the action of the spiritual world upon the natural and the production of its effects there--that is to say, of all processes and living. phenomena in matter.

And, as regards universal Creation, including both spiritual and material, our induction brings us to the position that this, in its turn, in the immeasurable whole and in every least detail, is related to the Creator as Effect to Cause, and that the creation, in whole and in part, "corresponds" to the Creator, or to some one or other of the Infinite things which constitute Him. Carried into particulars, this again resolves itself into the position that- every object in nature is the reduction to, and expression in, terms of matter, of some specific Affection of the Divine Love, which is the Divine "end" of its Creation, and some specific Perception of the Divine Wisdom, which is the Divine or Primary "Cause," by which its existence, was brought about; and that every such object "corresponds" to the specific Affection and Perception, in the Divine Mind, from which, in the Divine processes of Creation, it originally came forth. Looked at from the Divine or Creative standpoint, therefore, every object in nature, ultimately, essentially and vitally, signifies not itself but the Divine Affection and Perception in which it had Origin, and of which it is the lowest correspondent expression. In other words, that Divine Affection and Perception are the final or Divine meaning, of any particular material object that may be in question.



The same course of reasoning, carrying with it like conclusions, applies in the case of all natural Processes and essential relations existing among material objects: they, likewise, all originate in, correspond to, and signify some relation, or mode of action, existing among the Infinite Divine things which constitute the Mind of God; which Infinite Divine things are, behind, and beyond, and above all things else, their real, essential and final meaning, in the universe.

It is a revealed truth, moreover, that Man was created in the "image of God": a truth involving that man is, in all his faculties, powers and qualities, a finite reflection-either true or distorted-of the Infinite Mind of God. From this it results that the objects which primarily correspond to and signify the Affections and Perceptions of the Divine Mind, secondarily and reflexively correspond to and signify the finite affections and perceptions, derived from the Divine, that exist in and constitute the human mind.



It is evident, therefore, that the external world of nature, prior to the introduction of disorder and evil into it by man's perversity, would have been, to, any one able to inter ret these "correspondences" aright, a transcendent "revelation" of the Nature and Qualities of God, of the Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom in their Infinite Affections and Perceptions, and of the relations and processes of Divine Order in things spiritual, and, derivatively, of the nature and qualities, the order, relations and processes, of the spirit of man-in short, a theatre representative of the Lord and His Kingdom. All that would have been necessary, is-the ability to read the face of Nature aright, that is to say, according to its "correspondence" with its Divine Creator! The point at which we have arrived, then, may be summarized thus:

1. There is, as a matter of fact, a plenary "correspondence" between the things of a man's spirit and those of his body, in the total and in detail; and this is from Creation.

2. There is, by the necessary law of creation, a correspondence between the things of outward nature, on the one hand, and the things of the Spirit or Mind of God and the things of the spirit or mind of man, on the other.

3. These things of the Spirit or Mind of God, necessarily are the real significance and final meaning, in the universe, of the objects of created Nature.

All this being the case, would it be unnatural or artificial, in communicating with man by means of a written revelation, for God, in mentioning the objects of the outward creation, to mean by them, the Divine things in Himself of which they are the last and lowest, i. e. the material, forms--and the answering spiritual things in man-in such a way, that, to man in the world, the subject of the communication should appear to be the things themselves as they stand forth in the world, while, to God Himself, the subject should be the Divine and spiritual things to which the natural things, by the law of their creation, "correspond"?


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 224 Is not this indeed the final and supreme significance, and the very ground, of His declaration when in the world: "The words that I speak unto you, they ARE SPIRIT"? We confess that it appears to us that there is very much to be said for this view. If the situation is fairly faced and adequately realized, it will rather seem that the unnatural and artificial, even the forced thing, in the circumstances, would be for God to mention these things in any way which did not involve their inner and real Divine meaning, as well as the external, apparent and natural meaning, which man in the world attaches to them.

This is what the doctrine we are endeavoring to expound in these pages claims has been done in the Word of God, and is involved in the numerous express and implied teachings of the Scriptures themselves that they are Divine Parable, and, as such, contain an. inner sense which is actually their real, because Divine, meaning. Rational induction, therefore, concurs with Scripture; authority in affirming this, as both the necessary and the actual character of the Word of the Lord; and that the relation between its Spirit and its Letter is the relation of "correspondence," which is the relation of true Cause and Effect, according to which all Creation takes place.1



1 For a masterly presentation of the whole subject of Correspondences, see the Rev. W. A. Presland's Correspondence the Key to Causation and Revelation, procurable from the publishers of the present work.

(3)It was observed, a little above, that any person able to interpret aright the "correspondences" of which the universal Creation consists, would have found in the external world of nature, prior to the introduction of disorder and evil into it by man's perversity and sin, a perfect revelation of the Nature and Qualities of the Mind of God and--reflexively--of those of the mind of man also. It' is worth while asking, What must have been the situation of the earliest race of human beings in this regard?

It is rationally inconceivable and unbelievable that, when the human soul, spirit and mind were fresh from the Divine Hand of the Creator, as with absolutely the first human beings--whether they were a single pair on one spot of the earth's surface, or a thousand pairs in as many different centers--was certainly the case, there was anything of actual evil in it. The law of cause and effect which, we have been learning, is the universal law of Creation, absolutely negatives the possibility of such a thing. In its "cause"--the Divine Creator--there is no evil; and as there can be nothing in the effect that is not in the cause, either actually or potentially, there could not have been any evil in the human soul, with our first ancestors.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 226 Still, they were born natural--not spiritual or celestial--and even lowest natural; which, however, does not necessitate evil, for there is lowest natural good as well as evil, and, in fact, there is good on every plane of human life. The race began its career at the bottom, in a state, externally viewed, approximating to that of wild--not savage: but simply free and unrestrained--animals; but, inwardly, or as to their spirits, of complete innocence and of wonderfully clear, though at first untutored, intelligence, even in relation to spiritual things. We do not know it, but it is the certain truth, nevertheless, that the blindness in reference to spiritual things which characterizes unregenerate--and even to a large extent regenerate--human nature at this day, is not, ultimately,; the fruit of pure intellectual defect, but of the evil of which our heredity is mainly constituted. The earliest human beings were wholly free from this source of spiritual blindness, and consequently enjoyed a natural clear-sightedness for spiritual and Divine things, even prior to their regeneration, to which we at this day are utter strangers. Still, the interior and higher degrees of their minds could only be opened, and they from natural become first spiritual and afterwards celestial, by Regeneration; for it not only is now, but it always has been and always will be, the law: "Except a man be BORN AGAIN, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John iii. 3). For this work, Divine Truth was necessary, then as now.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 227 It was imparted to them, no doubt, in many ways; all, however, internal, because there were no obstructions in the interiors of their minds to the reception and discernment of the Divine Truth which ever flows forth from God to man. According to the Scriptures, also, God has in all ages made communications to men in and by means of visions and dreams: a mode which, in the native transparency of the minds of these earliest men, would be far more efficient than in subsequent ages. With them, also, more than in the case of later generations, the dreams and visions would be accompanied by a perception of their interpretation; by means of which the instruction contained in them would be received. There would, certainly, be no lack of all Divine Truth needed for their regeneration; and, although we have no express revelation to that effect--and only revelation could tell us--there seems no loophole for doubting that all became regenerate, in lower or higher. degree, and consequently, on dying, passed into heaven and became angels. As heaven thus began to be peopled, there came to be human beings on that higher plane; who, being in good, would be also in the truth of that higher plane, and in a position to impart to their brethren in the world they had themselves left behind, more than the latter could learn on their lower plane without such aid.



With successive generations, carrying with them an intellectual and spiritual development which the conditions furnished by the innocent and translucent state of the human spirit must have made more rapid than we can at all conceive, a higher and higher degree of regeneration became more and more general; and at length with a proportion of the race, it became the rule for that process to reach the highest degree of all--the Celestial. The resulting spiritual conditions thus established among men, formed the Most Ancient, or the earliest, Church of this planet; and it was a "Celestial" Church. The state of the spirits of all such as, by individual regeneration, became of this Celestial Church, was now such that every upward-looking window, so to speak, in every degree of their minds--natural, spiritual and celestial--was wide open to the light of heaven, and there was a perfectly free passage for the influx and reception of all Divine gifts from God, through the highest and lower degrees of their minds, in order, even to the lowest-in which, as with us now, their natural consciousness was experienced; and they were thence in the enjoyment of the peculiar and distinguishing gift of that people-Perception.

This "perception," the inevitable result of the then existing spiritual conditions, consisted in the men of this Most Ancient Church seeing eye to eye with God in all things, spiritual, celestial and Divine, to a degree; never approached in subsequent times, and never attained, even among that people, until Regeneration had opened all the degrees of their spirits, right to the highest, to heaven and God.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 229 And one conspicuous respect in which they thus came to see eye to eye with God, was that of perceiving the Divine and spiritual meanings--dwelt upon above-of the outward Creation. By virtue of their reception of the influx of the Divine Love and Wisdom in their understanding, they were able to read, in the face of Nature, the Mind of God, of which, as we have seen, everything there was the ultimate form, effect, and hence "correspondence"; so that Nature itself, extant to their senses, became to them, literally, a Divine Revelation. Thus, the outward universe, in virtue of its being, by the mode of its creation, in vital correspondence with the Affections and Perceptions of the Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom, constituted the first "Word of God"; which was, thus, not a written one, but a created one, ever varying its face, and, with every variation, adding some fresh particular to their thus-revealed knowledge of God, and, reflexively, to their knowledge of their own spiritual being, and the laws of its order.

So truly heavenly-minded, moreover, were these "Celestial" men of the Most Ancient Church, as long as this remained in its integrity, that not only could and did they perceive the "correspondence" of all the objects that greeted their bodily senses, but, when any of their senses made them cognizant of an object, their thought went, instantly and spontaneously, NOT to the object BUT to the spiritual and Divine thing to which the object corresponded! Outward nature was to them merely a means of thinking about the Divine Perfections and their own spiritual and heavenly possibilities, and thus constituted for them an ever active stimulus to spiritual effort and progress.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 230 Those were the days, with that people, of heaven upon the earth the true "Golden Age" of which poets, through all the centuries, have sung--the real nature of which, however, is now, for the first time, known, from the series of works in which the Spiritual Sense of the Word of the Lord has been revealed.

It is, indeed, from the Spiritual Sense of the Divine Word that all these things have come to light. As stated earlier, the account of "creation" given in the 2nd chapter of Genesis, treats in the Internal Sense of the process by which, in men already regenerated as to the Spiritual degree of their minds, and become Spiritual men, the work of Regeneration is carried to the Celestial degree, so that they may become Celestial men. And the Celestial man, individually and collectively--in which latter point of view man is called a "Church"--of the Most Ancient times, is signified by Adam whom "Jehovah God formed of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of lives" (Gen. ii. 7); the wonderful intelligence of that Church in Divine and heavenly things, of which we have caught some faint glimpses, is signified by "the garden of Eden," in which "Adam," when "formed"--that is, Celestially regenerated-was placed by Jehovah God; and "the trees of the garden" are the marvelous "perceptions" to which we have also adverted.



The garden of Eden was not, therefore, a geographical locality in the outer world, in which God placed the first individual human being as to his body: it was the state of heavenly intelligence to which God brought the earliest generations of mankind as to their spirits, by the processes of Regeneration, carried to the highest point, which constituted them a Celestial Church.

Of course, these men of the Most Ancient Church were in some region of the outer world: the point is, that their physical, or local, habitation is not what is meant by the Garden of Eden, but their spiritual or celestial state. Their local habitation, however, is made known to us in the revelation of the Spiritual Sense of the Word given in the Writings of Swedenborg. It was, we are taught, the land of Canaan that was the home, country, or territory of the Church, from its very first dispensation in the world, as we know it was later.

(4) Now, observe the necessary consequence on any land of its being inhabited by a people endowed, as to this wonderful faculty of "perception," as were the men of the Most Ancient Church. "Whatsoever things they saw or in any way perceived by their senses, were to them representative of the spiritual and celestial thin of the Lord's Kingdom; so that they saw, indeed, the worldly and terrestrial things with their eyes, or perceived them by their other senses, but, from them and by means of them, they thought of celestial and spiritual things.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 232 Hence it came to pass that all the parts of the land in which they lived--Canaan--and everything in it, the mountains, rivers, plains, valleys, districts, towns, and also the surrounding countries, represented to them the spiritual and celestial things to which they perceived that they corresponded"(see Arcana Coelestia, n. 5136). Moreover, they gave to the places of that land significant names, according to their "representative" values, which names, in some cases, persisted long after all knowledge of their representative or spiritual value was lost, and, in some cases, were themselves also lost,--to be revived,1 in long subsequent ages, under the representative dispensation that Jehovah instituted among the Israelitish people.

1 A noteworthy instance of this, is that of the town and neighborhood of DAN. This place was so named, we are told, by the men of the Israelitish tribe of Dan, in the time of Joshua, after the patriarch of their tribe (Josh. xix. 47), and even again in the following generation (see Judges xviii. 29), and had been known as Leshern (Josh. xix.) and Laish (Judges xviii.)--two forms of the same name-previously. Nevertheless, it is mentioned by the name "Dan," in Gen. xviii. The critics infer, from these facts, that the book of Genesis must have been written after the time of Joshua, and consequently not by Moses. But the circumstances mentioned above, point to another conclusion: the conclusion, namely, that the naming, in the periods of Joshua and the judges, was a restoration, under a Divine influence and leading (of which, of course, the men immediately concerned were totally unaware), of the "representative" name which the place had originally received from the men of the Most Ancient Church; which it still bore in the days of Abram, and which was preserved in the traditions of Abram's life that had come down to Moses, and were utilized by the Lord for the purposes of the Spiritual Sense of the Word, in the Divine Inspiration under which Moses wrote the Pentateuch; but which had been subsequently lost, or displaced, during the centuries in the course of which the land passed into the possession of the idolatrous Canaanitish nations. Certain it is, that, in all the passages where the name is used the spiritual significance of it is the same: viz., the acknowledgment of the Lord and of Divine Truth, which is the beginning of the Church, or the entrance to the Lord's Kingdom, as the geographical "Dan" was the entrance to the land of Canaan on the North, and also, from the land of the Philistines, on the Southwest.



(5) After the introduction of evil, signified in detail by the temptation and fall of man, and his consequent expulsion from Eden, in succeeding generations of the Most Ancient Church, the "perception" characteristic of that Church while still in its integrity, became successively dimmed, until, at the consummation of the Adamic age, or dispensation--or, what is the same thing, of the Most Ancient Church--it was utterly and finally lost. A knowledge--as distinguished from "perception"-of a residuum of the truths, representatives and correspondences possessed by the men of the Most Ancient Church, had, however, been preserved by tradition for the use of the men of the new, or "Ancient," or "Noatic" Church with which God made his new "Covenant," or established a new "dispensation"; and was reduced, we are informed, to a written form, which constituted the beginnings of the "Ancient Word," of which we have already learned something in a former chapter.1


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 234 Especially did the men of the Ancient Church prize and cultivate the knowledge of Correspondences and Representatives as a Science--indeed, as the chief of Sciences--and, by their means, learn to think about the spiritual and celestial things to which the earthly objects surrounding them corresponded. This was a very exalted spiritual state compared with any that has since existed; but it was incomparably inferior to that spontaneous and instant "perception" of the spiritual or celestial thing, in the "corresponding" earthly object, which had been the high and characteristic endowment of the Most Ancient Church. These men of the Ancient Church, in its earlier and better days, we are taught, loved especially to frame compositions according to their scientifically acquired knowledge of "correspondences," and, especially, to put them in an outer form of historical or biographical story;--the whole meaning, however, always lying in their inner or spiritual sense--never in the literal.1

1 Chapter 2, pp. 35-42, above.

1 The book of job is a book of this character, coming down, we are informed, from the men of the Ancient Church--not a Book of the Ancient "Word": that is a different thing altogether. It is, consequently, full of "correspondences," though it does not contain a continuous Spiritual Sense, treating of the Lord and His Kingdom.

They loved, also, to surround themselves in their homes, and particularly in their houses and outdoor places of worship, with objects corresponding to, and "representing" the spiritual excellences they considered it specially important to cultivate, and therefore to keep before their minds, in their daily lives and in their exercises of Divine worship.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 235 They likewise spoke of the Divine Being by different names, according to the particular Divine attribute that was in their minds at the moment, and in respect to which they wished to present Him to the mind of another. Thus, when they wished to dwell upon the Divine Love, or Good, they would say "Jehovah"; in the case of Divine Wisdom, or Divine Truth, they would say "God"; when they would present Him as over, and over-ruling, temptation, and affording strength and consolation after it, they would speak of "Shaddai," rendered in our English Bibles "Almighty";1 and so on in other cases.

1 Striking evidence of this is afforded by the book of job, a book, as stated above, of the Ancient Church, the theme of which is a prolonged and interior temptation, and in which God is mentioned by the name "Shaddai" (rendered in our English Bibles, "Almighty") no fewer than thirty-one times.

This takes cognizance only of Divine names used in our Scriptures; but the numberless "gods" of the various heathen mythologies had the same origin, and were, in the first instance, nothing else than particular Divine attributes of the One and Only God significatively personified.

This "Ancient Church" also, in the beginning, had its seat in the land of Canaan; though it later, and especially after it began to fall away from its first high spiritual estate, spread into the surrounding lands, and indeed, in process of time, into countries exceedingly remote.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 236 Their Word--the "Ancient Word" of which we have before spoken2 --became thus very widely distributed; and, though it became more and more corrupted, with the Ancient Church itself, and differently corrupted among different peoples, there always remained a sufficient likeness to the original form, to attest a common origin. Thus the numerous legends of the Creation, the Flood, the Tower of Babel, the dispersion of nations, a Messianic expectation, etc., that have been discovered in nearly all parts of the world, are the last vestiges, variously corrupted, of the Ancient Word; an uncorrupted version of part of which forms the introduction to our present Word.1 In that Ancient Word, moreover, in its literal form, many of the significant names that had been given, in the clays of the Most Ancient Church, to places in the land of Canaan and the adjacent parts, and still continued in use, were mentioned, and actually occur in some of the quotations from that Word that appear in ours. A notable instance of this is the quotation from "The Prophetic Enunciators"--or, according to the circumlocution of our Authorized Version, "those that speak in proverbs"--given in Num. xxi. 27-30.2

2 Chap. 2, pp. 35-42.

1 i. e. Gen. i. to vii. See Chap. 2, p. 42.

2 See Chap. 2, p. 33, above.

That this Church also, in course of time, fell away, sinking eventually into a practically universal idolatry and moral corruption, is manifest from all that is related of the descendants of Noah, in their successive generations, in the Book of Genesis, and in subsequent Israelitish history.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 237 For, it will be evident, from all that has preceded in this chapter, that Idolatry could no more be the original form of religion than corruption and evil could be the original moral and spiritual state1 of the human race. An accompaniment, and indeed a consequence, of this two-fold declension, as it progressed, was, of course, a steadily increasing neglect of their great spiritual Science of "Correspondences,"--once so sedulously cultivated and highly prized; according to which their Scriptures and other sacred books were written and had been exclusively understood, and the "representatives" with which they had everywhere surrounded themselves served to remind them of the spiritual goods and truths they signified--until, in the end, knowledge of that Science totally perished (except, in some small measure, with a very few here and there) and "Correspondences" passed into the limbo of lost sciences.

1 For the discussion of which point, see above, in the present chapter, pp. 225-6.

(6) When this time arrived, in the passing of the generations, many things happened;. all of which, however, may be summed up in the single statement, that everything of religious importance and observance among them was naturalized, sensualized--in one word, literalized. Thus, when the men of those degenerate days, found in use in their sacred books a plurality of Divine names--"Jehovah," "God," "Shaddai," "Pachad"2 and others--instead of understanding them as designations of the One and Only God in respect of different specific Divine Attributes, as their forefathers who knew Correspondences had done, they took them for the names of so many different gods, which they worshipped accordingly: and hence arose POLYTHEISM.

2 Gen. xxxi. 53. The word above is the Hebrew. It is translated "Fear," with a capital "F," in the R Revised Version, to indicate that it is a proper name.



When, again, they found the various representatives and images-some of natural objects, some combining parts of different natural objects into a single composite form1 never met with in nature--which preceding generations conversant with "Correspondences" delighted to have about them, in their homes, and particularly on the hills and in the groves and houses in which they celebrated worship2--this degenerate posterity took these images and objects, because they were in places consecrated by usage to the purpose of worship, for objects of worship and adored them as such: and hence arose IDOLATRY.

1 As, for example, the body of a bull with the head of a man and the wings of an eagle in the Assyrian bull, and again, the head, trunk and arms of a man, with the tail of a fish, in the Philistine idol, Dagon. This is also the origin of the Dragon of ancient myth, a gigantic serpent with legs and wings.

2 As shown, and their reason for so doing given, in an earlier part of this chapter, p. 234.



When, once more, they read, in the portions of their Word answering to our Gen. iv. 3, 4, and viii. 20, 21, as well as in others of their religious (though uninspired) books, of cereals and animals being offered to God and burned on an altar as an act of worship, instead of understanding, as their enlightened predecessors had understood, that the spiritual graces to which "the fruit of the ground," and the animals concerned, "corresponded," were to be ascribed to God and acknowledged, because His gifts to them, as perpetually belonging, of right, to Hint-instead of understanding this, they imagined that the literal things mentioned were (and were to be) literally presented and literally burned on a literal altar, and that those acts constituted Divine worship! And hence arose SACRIFICIAL WORSHIP.

Here, then, we have the solution of the problem, left over for future discussion in an earlier part of this work,1--how such a religion, or such forms of worship, as marked the Israelitish dispensation, ever came to be in existence at all. It is, now, a well-known historical fact, that these worship forms did not originate with the Israelitish dispensation, but were taken over-subject, however, to various stringent modifications, which were new-under the express direction of Jehovah, from the one it superseded. These, truly, were supplemented by others, notably the architecture and appointments of the tabernacle and the laws regulating the priesthood, "the patterns of things in the heavens," that were revealed to Moses by Jehovah on Mount Sinai; 2 but the latter were, in their own nature, no more spiritual, no more "heavenly things themselves" (see Heb. Viii. 4-5; ix. 23), than were those that were taken over.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 240 The question why, in the establishment of this new dispensation, such admittedly unspiritual mere forms, and "patterns," and ceremonies, were tolerated, and a true spiritual religion not at once set up, has been discussed at length, and we believe conclusively answered, in a previous chapter.1

1 Chap. 7, above, see p. i 18.

2 Exod. xxv. 9, 4o; xxvi, 30; xxvii. 8; Num. viii. 4.

1 Chap. 7, pp. ioq-117, which might be profitably re-read in this place.



14.--The Israelitish or Jewish Element in the Old Testament Scriptures.

SUCH, then-namely, as depicted in the concluding portion of our last chapter--was the condition in relation to spiritual things into which the entire human race had fallen at the time the Israelitish people appear upon the 'scene of history. Even the immediate family of Abraham, their great ancestor, were idolaters in their, native country. Abraham himself, when in Canaan, and Isaac, and Jacob (as shown in a previous chapter), did not relax all hold on their ancestral god, Shaddai--we find Jacob invoking him in the course of his dying prophecy, in Egypt1;--while their descendants, during their long sojourn in the last-named country, lost all knowledge of the true God, and became wholly given up to Egyptian idolatry, and remained incorrigibly addicted to the worship of the calf, throughout their subsequent history, until the great Exile.2

1 Gen. xlix. 25.

2 All of which is shown at large in Chap. 7 above, see pp. 113-115.



This people God took in hand, at this juncture, for a purpose that runs manifestly through the Scriptures of both Old and New Testaments, and largely constitutes their (considering the circumstances of the giving of its different parts) truly marvelous unity--the purpose of restoring, by their means, THE HUMAN RACE, at that time fallen so low, to a true spiritual religion, in which the One True God revealed in those Scriptures, should be the only Object of human worship, and in which He should be worshipped in a truly spiritual manner, that is, by the cultivation, in men's daily lives, of spiritual qualities and excellences, taught them in a written Revelation which He Himself would give them when they were "able to bear" it, and of love to God and man as the inspiration and mainspring of conduct. And the first thing, manifestly, was to lead that people themselves some few steps--as many as their willingness to learn would admit of-in the direction of the end in view.

A religion and a worship, therefore, of some sort, they must have: the highest, of course, of which they were, in their state of utter spiritual devastation (in no wise superior to that of the nations around them) capable; but a religion and a worship, in any case. The human world of the time was strewn, as we have seen, with the wreckage of a "representative" religion, once genuinely spiritual, and effective of communication with heaven. The immediately practicable and possible step, in the conditions, manifestly was to purge the existing forms of worship from their most serious corruptions, and sever the worship itself unconditionally from idolatry and polytheism, by limiting it absolutely to the True God Himself.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 243 Their utter destitution of all spiritual truth made it impossible to bring them at once to the spiritual things originally "signified" by the forms they were to be permitted to use in their worship; but it would be a distinct gain for those forms to be shorn of their worst abuses and perversions. We have seen, earlier,1 how inevitable it was that the "sacrificial" mode of worship should be tolerated for the time: we see, now, the aim and the meaning of the regulations and limitations imposed upon it, when taken over, by the Levitical legislation. These were that it should be truly "representative" of spiritual, heavenly and Divine things. That accomplished, the Divine prescription, or regulation, of the worship could at once be made use of, in its literal import, in the government and spiritual training of the' people themselves among whom it was then given, and, by inclusion in a "parabolic" Word, provide, at the same time, for those future ages that would be able to receive and profit by the "inner meaning" of it all, when the time was ripe for that to be revealed. For, the giving of the Word among them was, it must never be forgotten, one of the leading purposes for which God designed to use that people. This, therefore, entered into His calculations--if we may be permitted the expression--in everything that He did in His dealings with them; and eminently, of a certainty, in the prescription and regulation of the forms of worship permitted among them.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 244 This is the real secret of the stringency of apparently unimportant details of ritual under that dispensation, and of violations, even if unintentional, of the integrity of the "representatives" in cases of really grave importance, being punished by death, either legally or Providentially1 inflicted. It is also the secret of their being brought into and established in the land of Canaan.

1 Chap. 7, pp. 115-118.

1 As, for example, in the case of Uzzah's being miraculously slain for touching the ark to steady it (2 Sam. vi. 6-8).

It must have occurred to every reflecting and believing student of the Old Testament Scriptures, that such a peculiarity as that land, rather than any other, being the one chosen for the inheritance of the people among whom Jehovah was setting up this new and peculiar religious dispensation, must have had some special and mysterious reason at the back of it. This reason we are now to understand.

We have learned above, in the former chapter, that Canaan had been, from the earliest times, preeminently the land of the Church. This circumstance alone, however, would not, evidently, explain its being chosen; inasmuch as, in the subsequent, Christian dispensation, it was not chosen.

But we have also learned that that land--in consequence of the peculiar genius of the men of the "Most Ancient Church," the resultant perception enjoyed by them of the "correspondences" of all things in external Nature with the things of the Spirit of God and the things of the spirit of man, and their practice of giving "correspondential" names to their surroundings, including all the places (mountains, plains, hills, valleys, rivers, streams, towns, villages, landmarks, boundaries, and the rest) in the land in which they dwelt;


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 245 in consequence, also, of the sedulous and pious culture of these spiritual, or "correspondential values of existing place--names, and likewise the extension of this principle of naming to the towns, villages and communities that sprang up afterwards, on the part of the succeeding "Ancient Church"--in consequence of all this, that land1 was possessed of a character that made it absolutely unique among the lands of the globe, and adapted to the purposes of a "representative" dispensation of religion, and of a parabolic, or "representative" Word, as no other land possibly could be. For, the Word that was to be, and subsequently was, given through the Israelites, was to consist in its Letter, as is proved by the event, of the laws, statutes and judgments of the "representative" religion instituted among that people, and of their national history;


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 246 with both of which, the land itself, and its geographical and other features and relations, its boundaries, divisions, towns, etc., etc., were inextricably interwoven.

1 Thus, with the men of both those Ancient dispensations, the land of Canaan as a whole "represented" the Church; every place within the land, something constituent of the Church, and every place outside it, something not of the Church, but yet related to it, by either approximation, or affinity; or antagonism, according to its "correspondence." Through the Ancient Word, in which they were incorporated, these place-names, as pointed out above (p. 223) were continued into our Word,--where, for example, that "Canaan" signifies the Lord's Church, is a commonplace with all Christians.

But, in reality, an even more fundamental and vital issue than any of those we have yet glanced at, was at stake--the very existence of the human race. The exceedingly important place occupied by the Church in the spiritual economy of the world, is a subject to which even approximate justice has but rarely been done. This place is that of a link connecting mankind on earth, with heaven, and through heaven, with God. And it provides this connection, by virtue of its use of keeping something genuinely Divine and spiritual among men, by its doctrinal teachings and its observances of worship.

The importance of this use lies in the fact that neither the individual man, nor consequently the race-man, has any Life which is its own. In the whole universe, there is only One who has Life in Himself, just as there is only One who is "Good"1 in Himself, and that is God. Created beings, including both then, spirits and angels, have only a derived life: derived from Him who is Life; and this, not, as is often imagined, by His imparting it--in the sense of parting with it--to them, at their creation, or birth, so that from that time on it is no longer His but heirs, but by His supplying them with it continually.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 247 Man, in a word, is, in the strictest sense, a receptacle, or recipient, of Life from God, as to every plane of his being; and this so absolutely, that, were the supply of Life from God to him, to be intermitted for a moment, his existence would that instant "go out," as infallibly as the electric light "goes out" on the supply of the electric current to it being switched off.

1 Matt. xix. 17.

It follows, of course, that disconnection from any transmitter of the supply--whether of the electric current from the power station, or of Life from God--would be attended by the same effect as though the supply came immediately from the original source.

But God Himself, the Source of Life, dwells far above all heavens, and man in the world far below all heavens. Heaven and the whole spiritual world come between; and the ever forth-flowing Life from God must pass through all the planes of the spiritual world in order to reach men. Now, the spiritual world consists of Heaven and Hell and an intermediate region which is the dwelling-place of men who have passed away from this world by death but are not yet fully prepared to take their place in either of the Final Abodes which constitute the other departments of that world. This intermediate region is called the "World of Spirits," to distinguish it from Heaven, on the one hand, which is the World of Angels, and from Hell, on the other, which is the World of Infernals, or Devils and Satans; and the spirits who are sojourning in it are inwardly affiliated to Heaven or to Hell according as they are internally good or evil.



All the influences that reach men by way of Heaven, minister to and promote health and life, equally of body and of soul. All influences, on the other hand, that reach men by way of Hell, bear in their bosom disease and death, equally, in like manner, of body and of soul; to such an extent that all bodily and spiritual disease, and all disease-produced death--which is a slaying, and a widely different thing from the natural, beneficent dying, or mere change of worlds, which is the true order of creation--even in the natural world, have originated in Hell and are derived from it even here. Even the Divine Life Itself, by passing to man through Hell contracts a disease-bearing and death-bearing quality from the channel through which it flows. If the time were ever to come, therefore, when the Divine Life, on the continual supply of which in a state of at least approximate purity, man's very natural existence depends, should reach mankind only by way of HELL, the extinction of the human race would be only a matter of time. The maintenance, therefore, of a vital connection of mankind at large with HEAVEN, is a condition on which depends not merely its spiritual well-being but its very existence. Man can only, however, continue in connection with Heaven, by the preservation in him, or with him, of something heavenly. And this, as pointed out above, is the very use for the sake of which the Church exists.



It is really because of this essential use subserved by the Church, and by no other instrumentality whatever, that, in the Divine Providence, there has always been a Church in the world, from the earliest infancy of the race right on to this day. Churches, that is, religious dispensations, or eras, have, it is true, come and gone, as indeed we have been learning in these chapters, if we did not know it before; but it has always been the case, that, as soon as one had corrupted its way upon the earth, and thus become no longer of use for keeping what is Divine among men, it has been brought to an end, and another Church, or dispensation, raised up in its stead. Thus, the Most Ancient Church at its consummation was succeeded by the Ancient, the Ancient by the Jewish and the Jewish by the Christian. A Church, or something of the Church, possessing some measure of purity and integrity, there ever must be, under pain of the severance of all connection, with Heaven, and the consequent extinction of the human race.

What the state of things in relation to the Church was, at the time of the institution of the Jewish dispensation, we have already seen. If there was still even one link, anywhere, connecting man with Heaven, it must have been the very last, and imminently near the breaking point. Any Church capable of serving the purpose of keeping what is Divine and spiritual amongst men, there clearly was not--not so much, of such a Church, as "one stone left upon another that was not thrown down" (Matt. xxiv. 2) and buried deep under unspeakable abominations in every sphere of life.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 250 Spiritually, the human race was utterly laid waste; and, look where we will, no promise, prospect or possibility can be discerned of any genuine re-habilitation. The people best suited to the purpose that God, in His Wisdom, saw to be the one hope for mankind, had to be permitted, for the time,--as the one alternative to the perishing of all religion whatever1,--a religion, or worship, so called, destitute of all truly spiritual elements, the only real virtue or excellence involved in which was a mere ox-like obedience to certain commands because commanded,--totally irrespective of what they were.

1 See, once more, Chap. 7, above, pp. 109-111.

A genuine "Church," therefore, was not possible; but a genuine "REPRESENTATIVE OF A CHURCH," involving in the spiritual significance, or "representative values" of its rites and ceremonies, really spiritual goods and truths, which supplied a connecting link with good spirits and angels who were in "the heavenly things themselves" which those rites and ceremonies merely represented--in a word, a connecting link with Heaven--was possible; and indeed, as we have seen, some of the materials of such a "Representative of a Church" were actually at hand. By purging them from all corrupt accretions; by dissociating them from polytheism and idolatry;


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 251 by associating them with the true God and with implicit obedience to Him as the one virtue, and by supplementing them with such additions as were needful to make the "Representative" sufficiently complete to be adequate as a connecting link with Heaven--by these means, under the laws of communication--imperfectly known as yet--between the natural and spiritual worlds, a new and unique dispensation was inaugurated, which, if strictly observed, would avail for the preservation of the human race until such time as a truly spiritual worship and genuine spiritual graces--"the heavenly things themselves"--should be once more possible on earth, as they are, always have been and ever will be, in heaven. Plainly, unless the race could be kept in existence, the "good things" that were "to come" (Heb. x. 1)--and which did come when God came into the world as the Man Jesus Christ, and imparted them--of which the Jewish dispensation was but "a shadow," or the mere representative, could be of no avail unless the race could be preserved in existence, on some terms, until the time of their "coming." To this indispensable end, therefore, of keeping the race in existence, which the establishment, among one people, of THE REPRESENTATIVE OF A CHURCH could be Divinely made to serve, everything else had to be, for the time being, subordinated. As against such a necessity, nothing whatever could be of any weight.

But, an indispensable condition to the efficiency of this "Representative of a Church," as a means of, as it were, artificially, or "miraculously," preserving a connection with Heaven for mankind, was, that the "representatives" of which it consisted should be maintained intact and observed inviolate.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 252 If its faithfulness as a "representative" were impaired, it would no longer represent "the heavenly things"; and, ceasing to "represent" them, it would cease to connect with Heaven. No less imperative was it that these "representatives" of worship should be offered to THE TRUE GOD and the true God ONLY. Nothing, therefore, that presented any insuperable obstacle--even, any serious danger--to the maintenance in approximate integrity of the "Representative of a Church" according to its Divine institution, and of the sole acknowledgment and worship of Jehovah, could be allowed to stand. Every such thing must be rigorously removed.

Now, the Canaanitish nations constituted (as is plain from all that is recorded of them in the Scriptures), by reason of their corruptions and abominations--to use the ever-recurring Scripture expression--as regards modes of worship, and still more by reason of the false gods and idols they adored, a constant and serious menace to the preservation of the integrity of the Israelitish worship and to the exclusive allegiance to Jehovah of that people--especially, in view of the native proneness of the people in question to these very evils. That danger had, therefore, to be removed; and the only way of effectively removing it was by the extermination of the nations themselves.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 253 Had they been permitted to remain, even in a subject condition, as is repeatedly insisted in the Scriptures themselves, the danger would have remained; and all the evidence testifies that the Israelites would not have been proof against the constant presence around. them of such temptations. And it was, once more, the present existence and the spiritual future' of the human race that hung in the balance. It was inevitable, therefore, that God should give His sanction to, and even should appear to command, where necessary, the absolute destruction of such of those nations as He saw were a real danger to the continued existence of the genuine "Representative of a Church," which, as the one hope of the human race, He had instituted among the Israelitish people. And it will be found, on examination, that, in every instance of such Divinely sanctioned, or apparently commanded, exterminations, the reason assigned has to do, explicitly, with this very danger. Indeed the general command on the subject, which occurs in Deut. xx. 10-18, specifies the reason as being, that they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin against Jehovah your God" (ver. 18). In a word, it was because their idolatrous practices were likely to draw away the people of Israel from their Divinely prescribed representative worship and from their allegiance to the true God, and thus to vitiate the one remaining bond connecting the world with Heaven, thereby endangering the continued existence of the human race on this earth, and for no other reason, that these exterminations occurred.



With such an issue at stake, no other course was possible. This fact, and the fact that assuredly no eternal harm was done to those nations, or to the individuals composing them, by merely bringing their terrestrial existence to an end, ought to suffice to reconcile even such terrible doings to the reason and spiritual moral sense of every believer in the Divine economy which, according to the Scripture accounts, prevailed at that day; for, to an immortal being, eternal harm or good is the only thing that really matters!

We have here, then--that is, in the whole series of things set forth in this chapter-a solution of the mysterious Jewish problem afforded by the Old Testament Scriptures, as regards both the origin of their peculiar, unspiritual worship, its permitted continuance and Divine regulation and extension among them, and even as regards the destruction of those idolatrous nations whose propinquity constituted a grave menace to the use to the race at large, that the Israelitish dispensation was instituted to serve. And the solution grows naturally out of all the pre-existing conditions, in turn, of the religious history of the human race, back to the very beginning, and is in line with the nature of the Divine Word given among that people--as, like their religion, having spiritual significance within its outer form which made both serviceable not only to that people at that time, but to future generations to which the Internal Sense of the Word should be revealed.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 255 "Correspondences" and "Representatives" are the key to the position in both regards, all along the line.













15.--The new Exegesis and the "Higher Criticism."

IN bringing the doctrine that has been advanced in the foregoing pages as to the true character of the Word of God, to bear upon the "Higher" Biblical Criticism, it is of importance that we remind ourselves of what the attitude of the school, of opinion so named, towards the Scriptures, is. We will set out, therefore, with a brief summary statement on this preliminary matter.

The initial point calling for notice is, that, to the "Biblical Critics," neither the specific collection of Books with which we are here concerned, nor any other Books whatsoever, are "the Word of God," in any unsophisticated sense of that expression. Those of the Critics who use the phrase, use it in some sense--best known to themselves-which certainly does not, imply the Divine Authorship of the Books, or Divine Authority, or Divine responsibility, for their contents.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 260 Some representatives of this School, indeed, believe that the Books "contain," or "are," "the record of a Divine Revelation"; some, even that they contain "the Word," or "some words," of God; --but by this they seem to mean merely that SOME of their contents were originally from a Divine source. Under this view, every individual must determine for himself which of those contents are of ultimate Divine origin, and disentangle them from the mass of material certainly not of Divine origin, of which the Books are alleged mainly to consist. Some of the Critics, however, are either more outspoken, or they go farther than this; for they plainly say that the Scriptures do not contain any words at all of which it can be truly said that they came from God. By this section of opinion the idea that the Scriptures either "are," or "contain," "the Word of God," or any "words" of God, is openly scouted as an exploded delusion, worthy only of the pity of every intelligent man and woman in this enlightened age.

But lest this statement should seem to any a misrepresentation, or at any rate exaggeration, of the view of those concerned, we append an extract from a letter dated; June 13th, 1902, from a clergyman of the United Free Church of Scotland signing himself "K," which appeared in The Glasgow Herald a day or so subsequent to that date. The occasion which called it forth has the delivery of an address by Prof. George Adam Smith at a meeting of young men, in the course; of which he spoke of the Bible as "God's holy Word" and urged his hearers to commit large portions of it to memory for that reason; a proceeding against which, as will be seen, "K" registers an indignant protest:



Professor Smith's speech last night makes confusion worse confounded. It is a speech which no one who holds by the modern methods of Biblical criticism can fail to deplore. What, we ask, does the speaker really mean? It was a speech, not to the fathers and brethren, vindicating his position: it was a voluntary address to young men, and there lay the pity of it. It spoke of "God's holy word," and in the next sentence it urged the memorizing of "the bare text of the English Bible" because, as we found the committing to memory of poetry "outside the Bible" helpful in times of stress, "it was a hundred times more true of that which was within the Bible--inspired by God Himself, and which came to us with the assurance that His grace and His wisdom were upon these words, The Bible is God's word."

We clergy flattered ourselves that we had understood the position of the Professor in his relation to the Old and New Testament Scriptures. But today many of the laity are assured of the so-called orthodoxy of this position; and it will be the endeavor of those who watch and foster "Church interests," to assure the laity that the position is one and the same as that of Chalmers, Candlish, Begg, and Kennedy. Is not Principal Rainy quite satisfied likewise?

But in the interests of theology, and the relation that ought to exist between the teachers and preachers of religion and the laity of this country, it is but right to point out that this is a matter of juggling with words and wheedling with men; and the cause of the simple, plain, direct issue of the matter is set aside-indeed, set back once snore (italics ours).



This, then, is the attitude of the "Higher Criticism" towards the Scriptures; and as this attitude has much to do with the nature of the theories that make up the substance of the "Criticism," on both its destructive and its constructive sides, it is of moment that its true nature should be well and clearly discerned. But the Higher Criticism is really a body of theories as to the genesis of the Books of the Bible in the form in which we now have them.

It will be seen that this statement implies that "the form in which we now have them" is not their original form; and this feature is, fundamental to Modern Biblical Criticism, with every one of its exponents. It is of the essence of this Criticism, that the Scriptures in their present form are not original documents, but composites of documents; compiled, from different sources, at different times, by different compilers, editors and redactors without number; and it is the "problem" of Criticism to determine when, and from what (hypothetical) originals, the component parts--not Books, be it understood, but paragraphs in the same Book, sentences in the same paragraph, and phrases and even single words in the same sentence--were brought together and woven into their present form. And truly wonderful are the hypotheses which have been spun, and have obtained acceptance, with the uncritical, as proved facts, under the style of "assured results," in the effort to solve the problem.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 263 Personally, we regard it as one of the most amazing phenomena in the intellectual history of mankind, that such theories as are many of those advanced by the Modern Biblical Critics, should have found so wide an acceptance as they unquestionably have, on such flimsy evidence as is offered on their behalf. We have no hesitation in saying that what is offered as "evidence" for many of the theories in question, is not evidence in any real sense of the term, at all; and the fact that it should have been so long allowed to flaunt itself as such, unchallenged, is one of the marvels of the age. It may, indeed, be confidently asserted, that the more flagrant, at any rate, of the theories of the Higher Criticism, are not accepted on evidence, but simply because the whole intellectual movement to which they belong chimes in with the rationalistic, anti-supernatural pre-possession which is so largely and growingly a characteristic of the present time.

Mankind will, in time, grow out of this childish pre-possession; and then the utter inadequateness of the "evidence" on which the whole structure of the Modern Critical theory rests will be seen, and men will stand amazed at its ever having been tolerated among rational men and women.

It is not our purpose here, however, to give a general account of the Higher Criticism; but simply to put before the reader the solution of the real problems that do undoubtedly underlie its fantastic theories, which is offered by the doctrine of the Spiritual Sense of the Word unfolded in the theological writings of Swedenborg, and show how this solution takes away the ground from under the theories themselves.



Time will not allow of our taking up all the points involved; but we will deal with the most important and familiar of them. These are:--(a) the "Jehovistic" and "Elohistic" features, the noticing of which first led to the formation of the "documentary hypothesis"; (b) other characteristic words which accompany these two features respectively; (c) duplicate accounts of the same event--sometimes separately presented, sometimes intermingled. We propose also to deal more fully than has been done in Chapter 21 with (d) the relation between the Babylonian stories of the Creation and "the Flood" and those we have in the Book of Genesis. And our mode of procedure will be, first, to state the peculiarities about to be dealt with-separately when convenient, and for the most part in the language of one or other of the "Critics"--and then to present Swedenborg's solution of it.

1 See pp. 38-42, above.

Let the following from the Encyclopedia Britannica introduce the general subject and the first of our particular points

Astruc observed (1753) that the respective uses of "Jehovah" and "Elohim," as the name of the Deity, afford a criterion by which two documents can be dissected out of the Book of Genesis.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 265 That the way in which the two names are used can only be due to difference of authorship, is now generally admitted; for the alternation corresponds with such important duplicates as the two accounts of Creation, and is regularly accompanied, through a great part of the book, by unmistakable peculiarities of language and thought, so that it is still possible to reconstruct the Elohim document, with a completeness which snakes its original independence and homogeneity matter of direct observation.1.. . The separation of these documents might justly be called the point of departure of positive criticism of the sources of the Old Testament; and present controversy turns mainly upon its relation to the other parts of the Pentateuch. Of
these, the most important are, the Jehovistic narrative, which also [i. e. as well as the Elohistic] begins with the Creation (Gen. ii. 4).... That this [i. e. the Jehovistic] narrative is not a mere supplement to the other, but an independent whole, appears most plainly in the story of the Flood, where two distinct accounts have certainly been interwoven by a third hand (Art. Bible, p. 637).

1. This is a claim which The Polychronze Bible, in which the portions supposed to come from different sources are printed in different colors, does not at all bear out, but, on the contrary, discredits,

The judicious reader will not, of course, pert-nit himself to be carried off his feet by the word "certainly" in the concluding clause! That which is there set down as "certain" is just as much hypothesis as the assumption that any Jehovistic or Elohistic "documents" ever had actual existence in fact--an assumption for which, it need hardly be said, there is not a shred of evidence.



Strong confirmation of the truth of our contention in this respect, is to be found in the fact that Astruc actually entitled his work, CONJECTURES on the original Memoirs of which it appears Moses made use in composing the Book of Genesis! Another eloquent testimony to the purely conjectural character of these speculations is, that, in speaking of "the origin of the theory of the late date of the Priestly legislation" in the Pentateuch, Reuss says of the originator of that particular theory: "it [the theory] came to him, he tells us, rather as an intuition than as a logical conclusion; and it was nothing less than this: that the Prophets are earlier than the Law and the Psalms later than both" (The Bible and the Critics, by the Rev. John McEwan, D.D., 1902). Further: "When the late Professor Robertson Smith called certain views of Dr. Cheyne's 'fanciful,' Dr. Cheyne said, 'That should be no objection to a historical student like the author.'...Professor Smith is, as we have seen, himself not devoid of this privilege; without which there is no piecing together the scattered fragments of history, no unifying the lifeless conclusions of cold criticism" (Fundamentals, etc., P. 24.). In other words, Dr. Cheyne did not even dispute that his theories--in common, be it clearly understood, with those of all the rest of the Higher Critics--were the products of imagination; and his reply to the charge is to justify that mode of "criticism"!


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 267 Let no one think, therefore, that the so-called "certainties" of the Biblical Critics, or the so-called assured results of Biblical Criticism," are proved facts, or that they rest upon proved facts. On their own showing and admission, such is not the case. They are hypotheses pure and simple; and, as such, they stand or fall according as they fit in with and explain the facts concerned.

The facts, in this case, are, properly speaking, the contents of the Scriptures in the form in which we now have them. But the critics have a way, when they encounter anything in those contents which is incompatible with their hypotheses--and such things abound-of calmly ruling them out as "interpolations by a later hand"! When search is made for the evidence that these statements are "interpolations by a later hand," it is found that the only evidence producible is that they do not agree with the hypothesis. Instead of this circumstance being accepted, as it would be in any really scientific method, as discrediting the conflicting hypothesis, it is taken as discrediting the facts which the hypothesis professedly set out to explain, but finishes by unceremoniously brushing aside. It is to be admitted that this is a highly convenient way of dealing with awkward facts and establishing a hypothesis--any hypothesis, obviously, could be established by such a method; but it must not claim to be "scientific," and it will not be tolerated by rational men when they come to realize that the problems concerned can be really explained--as we hope to show--without recourse being had to such unscientific and uncritical means.



Reverting now to the Encyclopedia Britannica statement, the reader's attention is especially directed to the fact, that the start, or "point of departure," of Modern Biblical Criticism, and at the same time of its "documentary hypothesis," was the detection by Astruc, in the year 1753, of the Jehovistie and Elohistic features in Genesis.

Now, Swedenborg had drawn public attention to this peculiarity several years previously; it comes up again and again in all his theological Writings; and he repeatedly points it out in the very first work of the series. This is the one entitled, The Arcana Coelestia which are in the Sacred Scripture, or Word of the Lord, disclosed; the first volume of which-comprising nos. 1-1885--saw the light of publication in 1749, four year's before Astruc's work referred to above. Several of the extracts to be presently given are from that volume; and consequently of the date mentioned, or earlier.

In order to place the reader in a position to adequately appreciate Swedenborg's explanation of these peculiarities, and of those to be brought forward later, it will be well to premise a few fundamental principles of the new doctrine of Regeneration, disclosed in these works from the Spiritual Sense of the Word. They have been incidentally adverted to in our chapter on the Spiritual Sense of the 1st chapter of Genesis; but a concise recapitulation of them here is none the less necessary.



These fundamentals are:

(1) Regeneration is not a magical and instantaneous event, but an ordered and gradual process, of many stages; and it consists in bringing the whole complex nature of man into harmony with the Mind and Character of God, whereby he becomes a "child of God" in a spiritual point of view.

(2) At every step of it, Regeneration must embrace both the Will and the Understanding. And the Will, when regenerated, becomes receptive of Divine Goodness, and the organ of Love to God and man; and the Understanding, when regenerated, receptive of Divine Truth, and the organ of Faith and spiritual intelligence. The point is that, in every detail of the process, both Will and Understanding must be brought under the influence of Regeneration.

(3) At the outset, these two faculties are at variance; for, while the Understanding admits Divine Truth with comparative ease, the Will for a long time resists, and only at length yields, after the struggle and conflict which we know as Temptation. The bringing of Will and Understanding into harmony and under united allegiance to the Divine Truth, which is the ultimate aim of Regeneration, is spoken of in this doctrine, as the spiritual, or heavenly, "marriage."



(4) Lastly, there are two distinct levels of Regenerative attainment. The lower, and more external, of these is called the "Spiritual degree," and in it the Understanding takes the lead; and the Understanding thus leads by Divine Truth. The higher and more internal of these Regenerative levels is called the "Celestial degree," which is preeminently the heavenly state; and in it the fully-developed new Will leads the way in every detail of life; and the Will leads by the Goodness which constantly flows into it from God. It is during the "Spiritual" stage, that the spiritual "marriage" spoken of above is step by step established, and consequently that stage is characterized by conflict; from which conflict, when the Celestial degree is attained, there is at once, and ever afterwards, rest. The attainment of the "Celestial degree" of Regeneration is the "Sabbath," or rest, of the soul. These two degrees, or levels, of Regeneration are also indicated by the terms "Spiritual man" and "Celestial man," respectively.

These principles, well grasped, will enable the reader to appreciate what is to be now put before him.

(1) Swedenborg's explanation of the Jehovistic and Elohistic peculiarities pointed out above starts from the principle that "THE LORD gave the Word," and that He deliberately adopted the peculiarity here in question, with a definite object in view. That object is indicated in the following brief statements:



By "Jehovah" the Lord is meant as to the Divine Good of the Divine Love; and by "God" [Heb., Elohim] the Lord is meant as to the Divine Truth of the Divine Wisdom (True Christian Religion, no. 253).

The name "God" is used in treating of the Spiritual man, but the name "Jehovah" in treating of the Celestial man (Arcana Coelestia, no. 3920.

In this chapter [Gen. ii.] the Celestial man is treated of; in the preceding, the Spiritual man was treated of. This is plain from the fact that, now [Gen. ii. 4], for the first time, it is said, "JEHOVAH God": in the preceding portions, where the Spiritual man has been treated of, it is only "GOD" (ibid., nos. 81, 89).

It is said here [Gen. vii. i], "Jehovah," because the subject now treated of is Charity. In the previous chapter, verse 9 to the end, it is not said "Jehovah," but "God," because there it treats of ... intellectual things, which are of Faith.... When intellectual things, or the Truths of Faith are treated of, the term "God" is used; but when the things of the will, or the Goods of Love [or Charity], the term "Jehovah" is employed (ibid., no. 709).

In order that the full force of these statements may be perceived, it needs to be borne in mind, as shown in Chapter 11, that, in the internal sense of the Word, "Creation" signifies Regeneration; which, consequently, is the theme, in that sense-as there seen-alike of the 1st and 2nd chapters of Genesis, which, in the literal sense, both treat of Creation.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 272 And the reason why there are two accounts of Creation is, NOT because the "editora pure creation of the Critics' imagination--happened to have two inconsistent documentary narratives before him, and, not knowing which was correct, decided to put in both; but because, in Genesis ii. 4 and following verses,

the formation of the Celestial man [as distinguished from the Spiritual] is treated of, as is very evident from the particulars which follow; as, that no herb had as yet sprung forth, that there was not a man to till the ground, as well as that Jehovah formed man, and that He afterwards made every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens which formations have nevertheless been treated of in the preceding chapter: wherefore, here another [i. e. the Celestial] Man is treated of in the Internal Sense. This is, however, still more evident from the circumstance that the Lord is now, for the first time, called "Jehovah God," whereas, in the preceding portion, where the Spiritual man is treated, of, He is simply called "God"; and, further, that now it is said "ground" and "field," and in the preceding portions only "earth" (ibid., no. 89).

This both completes the explanation of the peculiarities involved in the employment of the names "Jehovah" and "God," and also introduces the next feature:

(2)Characteristic words, other than the Divine Names, associated with the Jehovistic and Elohistic features respectively.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 273 On this point we quote, on behalf of the Critics, from Professor George Adam Smith's book, Modern Criticism and the Preaching of the Old Testament:

Eichhorn (1780) showed that the difference in the name of the Deity was accompanied by several other linguistic variations. The passages that use Elohim speak of Him as "creating" the world, and' talk of the beasts of the "earth"; the passages which usually employ the name "Jehovah," speak of Him as "making" or "forming" the world, and talk of the beasts of the "field." These are but two instances out of many: Eichhorn had struck a line of differences, too numerous and too distinctive to prove fallacious (p. 35).

Of all the characteristic words here indicated, Swedenborg takes due note, and presents his solution-based, again, on the distinction between the Celestial and Spiritual man, in respect of Regeneration. In addition to the hint given in the concluding portion of Arcana Coelestia, no. 89, above, he makes, elsewhere, the following more explicit statements:

The external man is called "earth" while man remains Spiritual, but "ground" and also "field" when he becomes Celestial (Arcana Coelestia, no. 90);

while, as regards the words "create," "form," and "make," he has this:

To "create," to "form," and to "make," all signify to regenerate, yet with a difference of signification (ibid., no. 16);



and, in another place, this "difference of signification" is shown; thus:

The expression to "create," properly relates to than when he is simply created anew, or Regenerated; and to "make," when he is Perfected. A distinction is, therefore, preserved in the Word between "creating," "forming," and "making," as was shown above in the 2nd chapter of Genesis, where the Spiritual man becoming Celestial is treated of.... To "create" relates to the Spiritual man, and to "make," that is, to perfect, to the Celestial man (ibid., no. 472).

In leaving this detail, it may not be amiss to point out that Swedenborg's analysis surpasses that of the Modern Critics, in that it discovers that the word "ground" as well as the word "field," occurs in the Jehovistic portions, but not in the Elohistic. Swedenborg, indeed, draws attention to many other kindred peculiarities, which space forbids our even mentioning. We come now to:

(3) Duplicate accounts of the same event-sometimes separately presented, sometimes intermingled. On this feature we quote again, for the Critics, from Professor Smith's book. He says:

A few years later [than Eichhorn], in 1798, Ilgen, another German, observed that, within those parts of Genesis where Elohim is used, there are also different accounts of the same event, which can be distinguished from each other by;differences of style and vocabulary. Ilgen is therefore called the discoverer of the second Elohist (Modern Criticism, etc., p. 35).



Professor Smith likewise intimates that this peculiarity of duplication also runs through the remainder of the historical Books (ibid., pp. 43, 44).

Swedenborg's explanation of this very striking feature rests upon the same principle that accounts for the duplicate narratives of the Creation and the Flood, and can be perhaps best elucidated by his remarks upon the latter of these instances. Upon this, he comments thus:

From this verse [Gen. vi. 1] to the fifth, almost the same things occur as in the preceding chapter, as, indeed, is the case in the subsequent verses; so that he who is unacquainted with the Internal Sense of the Word, must needs suppose that it is a mere repetition. Similar instances occur in other parts of the Word, especially in the Prophets, where the same thing is expressed in various ways, and is sometimes even taken up anew and described again. The reason is, as has been before observed, that there are two faculties in man, perfectly distinct from, each other, the Will and the Understanding; and the Word treats of each distinctly. This is the cause of these repetitions (Arcana Coelestia, no. 707).1

1 Quoted also in footnote to Chap. 12, above, see pp. 197-8.

Respecting, moreover, such repetitions in general, he makes the following remarks:

He who abides in the sense of the letter only, cannot know otherwise than that it is a certain historical circumstance that is thus repeated; but, here, as elsewhere, there is never the least expression which is superfluous or meaningless; for it is the Word of the Lord.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 276 And hence there is no repetition, without a difference of signification. The present passage [Gen. vii. 6] describes the first temptation of the man of the Church, or his temptation as to the things of the UNDERSTANDING; and afterwards is described his second temptation, as to the things of the WILL (ibid., no. 734).

It only remains to add that ALL the distinguishing peculiarities of each account of the Creation and each account of the Flood, are comprehended in this principle; that is to say, all those which distinguish the "Jehovah" account, relate in the Internal Sense to Good, or the Will, and are thus what are called celestial peculiarities; while those which distinguish the "Elohim" narrative relate to Truth, or the Understanding, and are "spiritual" peculiarities. For example:

Characteristic of its style [viz., that of the so-called Prophetic, or Jehovist, "document"] is the use of the Divine name, "Jehovah"; [a] the use of the phrase, "the male and his female" in vii. 2 (literally, "the man and his wife"J), quite different from that used in vi. 19 [which is, "male and female"--"E"]; the term "house" applied to Noah and his family in vii. i [J].1

1 The early Chapters of Genesis. By Prof. H. E Ryle, 97-8.

J has [b] seven of each of the "clean" and two of each of the unclean; E has the animals two by two, with no reference to any distinction between "clean" and "unclean." 2

2 Ibid.



The name "Jehovah," as involving the "celestial" man, or state, or the will and the things pertaining to it, as distinguished from the "spiritual" man, or the understanding and the things pertaining thereto (which latter are involved in the name "God," or "Elohim has been already sufficiently dealt with.

(a) "The man and his wife" (vii. 2)--J-versus male and female (vi. 19)--E.

The explanation of this peculiarity is given in the exposition of Gen. vii. 9, as follows:

That "male and female" signify truth and good, may be seen from what was said before, at verses 2 and 3 of this chapter, where "male and female" are predicated of fowls1 and "man and wife" of beasts.1 The reason was also then stated, namely, that there is a marriage of the things of the will with those of the understanding, and not so much of the things of the understanding, in themselves regarded, with those of the will. The former are related as" man and wife," the latter as "male and. female." And because the subject here ["E"], as before said, is the temptation of that man as to the things of his understanding, it is said "male and female," and combat, or temptation, as to the things of the understanding is meant (Arcana Coelestia, no. 749).

1 "By beasts are signified the things of the will; by birds, those of the understanding" (Arcana Coelestia, n. 142).

Under Gen. Vii. 2, the matter is put thus:

"That by male and female are signified truths and goods, is evident from what has been said and shown before, namely, that man and male signify truth, and wife and female good.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 278 But male and female are predicated of things of the understanding, and man and wife of things of the will, for the reason that marriage is represented by `man and wife,' and not so much by male and female. For truth can never of itself enter into marriage with good, but good can with truth" (ibid., 725).

(b) The occurrence of the term "house," in the sense of family, in "J" only (Gen. vii. i).

This peculiarity is adverted to and explained in the exposition of this passage, in these terms:

"'Enter thou and all thy house into the ark.' That this signifies the things which are of the will is evident In the preceding chapter, where the things of the understanding are meant, it is expressed differently, namely, 'Thou shalt come into the ark, thou and thy sons, and thy wife and thy sons' wives with thee' (v. 18). 'House' signifies the will, and what is of the will" (ibid., 710)

(c) "Sevens" [J] versus "pairs" or "twos" [E]. This peculiarity is explained under Gen. Vii. 2, thus:

"The subject here treated of is the things of man's will.... For it is said that he should take of the clean beasts by sevens and the same is said in the following verse concerning the 'fowl.' But, in the', preceding chapter (vv. 19, 20), it is not said that he should take by 'sevens' but by 'twos,' or pairs, because there the things of the understanding are treated of (ibid., n. 717).



The sum of all which is, that all of these expressions and peculiarities which the Critics find to be characteristic of "J," or the "Jehovist" verses, or verse-groups, in their internal sense have a signification which relates to the will and the things of the will; and in those verses, or verse-groups, or sections which are characterized by the use of the Divine name "Jehovah," it is the will, and the things of the will that are treated of in the internal sense; it is in those parts, therefore, that these words belong. Their being in the Jehovist sections, consequently, is, on the principles of spiritual interpretation, simply what was to be expected, and is a peculiarly telling confirmation of the soundness of that principle. Incidentally, it shows how utterly superfluous the fanciful documentary hypothesis is to explain the facts, and becomes, to that extent, an argument against the soundness of the hypothesis.

Another and kindred peculiarity--to which the Critics, though they must have noticed it, have apparently attached no significance--is also pointed out and accounted for on the same principle; thus:

"There are, in the Word, PAIRS OF EXPRESSIONS [occurring in the same context], which appear as repetitions of the same idea: as, waste and solitude, foe and enemy, sin and iniquity, anger and wrath, nation and people, joy and gladness, mourning and weeping. These expressions appear to be synonymous, when yet they are not so; for waste,' foe, sin, anger, nation, joy, and mourning, are predicated [in the Spiritual Sense] of Good, while solitude, enemy, iniquity, wrath, people, gladness, and weeping, are predicated of Truth.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 280 These are not one thing; but they become one thing by conjunction" (The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem concerning the Sacred Scripture, no. 84).

Wherever, therefore, we meet with such nearly, or quite, synonymous words used together, one of each couple has relation to Truth and the other to Good; and they are thus coupled for the purpose of reminding the reader who is acquainted with the Spiritual Sense, as at this day every one may be, of the indispensable necessity of uniting Goodness with Truth, and Truth with Goodness, in every detail of his spiritual life--that is, of doing, obeying, practicing and loving the things he knows, understands and believes; "doing," etc., having relation to Good, or the Will and "knowing," etc., to Truth, or the Understanding.

We come now, lastly, to:

(d) The relation between the Babylonian accounts of the Creation and the Flood and those of the Book of Genesis.

In 1897, a Babylonian version of the stories of the Creation and the Flood was discovered, which presents so many points of resemblance with those we have in the Book of Genesis, that a connection of some kind between them can scarcely be doubted, but which is, at the same time, marked by so many and such grave differences that the differences call for explanation.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 281 This Babylonian version is preserved in what is known as "the Sippara tablet;"1 which tablet is of the date 2250 B. C.--over 750 years before Moses wrote-and is itself, as is proved by internal evidence, reproduced from a very much older source. The "Critical" position as to the relation between the Babylonian and the Genesis versions, is, that the Genesis version is "founded upon the Babylonian"; and it accounts, for the "many differences" between them by supposing the Genesis version to be a corruption of the Babylonian one. On this last-mentioned point we again adduce the words of Professor Smith:

1 Described in Prof. G. A. Smith's work, Modern Criticism and the Preaching of the Old Testament, from which several citations have been already made; and referred to in Chap. 2, above.

We are ignorant of the time at which the Hebrews received these stories from their Babylonian sources; while, in their Biblical form, they exhibit so many differences from the Babylonian, as to make it probable that the materials were used by the writers of the Pentateuchal documents only after long tradition within a Hebrew atmosphere (Modern Criticism, etc., pp. 61, 62).

It is, perhaps, as well to call to mind, once more, that "the writers of the Pentateuchal documents," here so confidently referred to, are mere creatures of the Critics imagination--there being, in sober fact, not a jot of evidence that such "writers," or the "documents" ascribed to them, ever existed!



But contrast with the above, Swedenborg's account of the source of the Biblical version of the stories in question, as developed somewhat fully earlier in the present work; but which for convenience we briefly gather up in this place. He first informs us that there was both a Church and a Divine Revelation, or a "Word," prior to that in the one case instituted, and in the other given, by Jehovah, through Moses, among the Israelites; and, as regards such prior Word, he draws attention to certain evidence for it contained in our own Scriptures.1 He informs us, further, that that Word, together with religion generally, underwent corruption, in course of time, in the various countries in which it had existed; and, finally, states that the first seven chapters of Genesis, in which the accounts in question occur, were transcribed by Moses, under Divine command and guidance, from that "Ancient Word," to form the introduction to the new Word--our present one,--which was given through him and a long succession of inspired writers, among the people of Israel, in the course of the next thousand years.

1 Presented in Chap. 2, pp. 35-37 above.

On these points we here offer only the following extracts:

This Ancient Church had also a written Word, which consisted of historical and prophetic parts, like the Word of the Old Testament.... The historical parts were called "The Wars of Jehovah" (see Num. xxi. 14, 15), and the prophetic were called "The Enunciators" [in the A. V., "them that speak in Proverbs"]--Num.
xxi. 27, 28.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 283 Their historical Books were written in the prophetic style, and, for the most part, were fictional histories like those contained in Genesis i.-xi. Their prophetic Books were written like the prophetic Books of the Old Testament (Arcana Coelestia, no. 2897).

That Word is still preserved in heaven, and is in use among those Ancients, there, who were in possession of it during their abode in the world. Those Ancients who still use it in heaven, were, in part, natives of the land of Canaan and its vicinity, as Syria, Mesopotamia, Arabia, Chaldea, Assyria, Egypt, Sidon, Tyre and Nineveh; the inhabitants of all which kingdoms were skilled in the science of correspondences in which that Word was written.... But as that Word was full of such correspondences as were significative of celestial and spiritual things remotely, and in consequence began to be falsified by many, it was, in process of time, by the Divine Providence of the Lord, removed, and another Word, written by correspondences less remote, was given; which was that delivered by the Prophets among the sons of Israel. In this Word were retained [from the Ancient one] several names of places, not only such as were in the land of Canaan, but also in the surrounding kingdoms of Asia; all which signify things and states of the Church; but then they derived such significations from the Ancient Word.... The first chapters of Genesis, in which the Creation, Adam and Eve, the Garden of Eden, and the sons of those persons, even to the Flood, and also Noah and his sons, are treated of, are also in that Word, and thus were transcribed from it by Moses (True Christian Religion, no. 279).



We venture to submit, with some degree of confidence, that the whole of the solution presented in this chapter, is sounder criticism than that of the "Critics," just as it is radically distinguished from theirs by the fact that it accepts the testimony of the Scriptures as to their own origin and character; that it finds in those Scriptures the evidence of the actual existence and reality of the source from which it traces the origin of the opening chapters of Genesis; and that it ascribes the corruptions which certainly exist in one or other of the two versions of the stories of the Creation and the Flood that we know of--the Biblical and the Babylonian--not to the one given in the God-inspired Scriptures we possess, but to the one found in the records of an admittedly idolatrous people.

And what a contrast, in conclusion, do the solutions here offered of ALL the peculiarities on which the Critics build, present, in comparison with the theories--they are no "solutions" at all--of the Critics! Those here presented, rest on the principle -well established, we would fain hope, in the foregoing pages--that the Sacred Scripture is a DIVINE BOOK, and derives from that fact a unique structure and character; which consist in its containing, within its literal sense, interior senses, one within another, suited to the angels of heaven in their different degrees, and, inmostly within all, the very Divine Truth of the Mind of God.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 285 And the reasons assigned for the peculiarities passed in review are all of them spiritual in !character, and thus in perfect keeping with the nature of the Word in which they occur; and the solution of each peculiarity brings to light some new principle of practical spiritual value. Finally, this doctrine of the nature of the Divine Word as containing, throughout, an Internal Sense wholly spiritual in its scope and import, proves it to be the Word of God by showing that it is, in all its Parts and details--as much in those peculiarities that lie behind the speculations of Modern Criticism, as in all others--"PROFITABLE for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Tim. iii. 16, 17).














16.The Nature and modus operandi of the Inspiration of the Word.

IN approaching the subject of the Inspiration of the Word, it is necessary in the first place to clearly realize that the Word, by which we here mean the written Word contained in our Sacred Scriptures, is DIVINE TRUTH, or, what is the same thing, the Thought, or the Mind, of God. This is the deep meaning of the announcement with which the Gospel according to John opens: in the beginning was the Word; and the Word was with God; and the Word WAS GOD (i. 1). In its first Fount and Originin its Beginningthat is to say, the Word is the very Truth1 that is with God, thus the Divine Truth, or Gods own Thought; and, consequently, it is God. And this is just as true of the Word in its written form as it was of the Word in its incarnate form; for the Word that is written, and the Word that was incarnated, are the same.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 290 Whatever the form it may on occasion assume, there is only one Word, and that is the Divine Truth as it exists in the Mind of God.

1 Thy Word, said Jesus, IS TRUTH (John xvii. 17).

The problem of the Inspiration of the word, therefore, is, How shall the Mind, or Thought, of GOD be communicated to men in the world so as to be intelligible to them, and thus serviceable for their spiritual needs? It is perfectly obvious, to begin with, that it can never be intelligible to man, or even to highest angels, as it exists in Gods Mind, or as it is in Itself; if only by reason of the finiteness alike of man and of angel. For Divine Truth, or Gods Thought, is, in the nature of the case, Infinite, and hence, in itself, absolutely and eternally beyond the capacity of even the sublimest finite intellect, much more of that of man in the world, and more still of that of man in the abject state of spiritual grossness and destitution which characterized him when the older portions of our Scriptures were communicated. God has Himself, indeed, explicitly declared this truth by the prophet Isaiah: My thoughts are not your thoughts; neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For, as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts (lv. 8, 9). Actually, the gulf is wider than is here expressed; for God, and thus His Thought, or the Divine Truth, is above and beyond the heavens also, or, what is the same thing, the thoughts of angels.



But the "thoughts" of angels, again, are likewise higher than those of then, and must 1w not only capable of more exalted truths than man's can ever attain to, but must also take a loftier and sublimer view even of the truths that man can, in his Way, apprehend. The thoughts and perceptions, therefore, of the inhabitants of the heavens, also, are, and always must be, incomprehensible and unintelligible to men in the world.

Between the Divine Truth to be communicated, and the mind of mare in the world to which to be communicated, then, there, lie all the planes of heavenly, or angelic intelligence, even the lowest of which is ineffable to man. By his experiences in the spiritual world (alluded to earlier) Swedenborg learned, and through him we may learn, that there are three such distinct planes of heavenliness, and so of angelic intelligence, or three distinct heavens, one above another: a highest, called Celestial; a middle, called Spiritual, and a lowest, called Celestial-natural and Spiritual-natural, because it, although Spiritual or Celestial in a degree man can never reach while here below, yet approximates to mans Natural state in the world, more nearly than do either the Spiritual or Celestial heavens, proper, above it.



Its imparting any Divine Truth, therefore, to the Celestial angels of the highest heaven, it would be necessary for God to adapt, or accommodate it to their capacity, by clothing, it in "Celestial" mental forms: in its impartation to the "spiritual" angels of the middle heaven, it would have to be further adapted to their capacity, by being clothed in "Spiritual" mental forms: in its impartation to the Natural angels of the lowest heaven, it would have to be still further accommodated to their capacity, by being clothed in angelic-Natural mental forms; and, finally, in its impartation to man in the world, it would have to be accommodated, yet further, to his capacity, by being clothed in worldly-natural mental forms.

The position then is this: any Truth, communicated by God to man in this world, must necessarily pass through the three heavens that intervene between God and the world, and be clothed in the mental or thought forms of those heavens, respectively, in succession. In no other way can it possibly reach man in the world at all. Whatever, therefore, is inspired by Godas is the case with everything that is truly the Word of Goddescends from Him through the three heavens in succession, in each of which it assumes a mental form adapted to the genius and capacities of the angels there, to the inspired man in the world through whom it is to be communicated; in whose mind it assumes a form adapted to the state and capacity of men in general.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 293 In the highest heaven, consequently, the Word which eventually reaches the world in the form of the Letter of the Word, is Celestial; in the middle heaven it is Spiritual; in the lowest, it is heavenly-Natural; in the world, it is worldly-natural; and in all it is Divine, because Divine Truth, Divinely accommodated to apprehension and reception, on each plane. And it is all ONE and the same Word, or one and the same DIVINE TRUTHwhatever the plane and hence the form.

It follows, also, from the mode of the communication, that each successive "accommodation" contains, inwardly within it, all those that are prior to itself; and, thus, the Divine "worldly-natural," which is the last in tile series, and constitutes the "Letter" of the Word, contains within it all the higher accommodations, or "senses"--for that, clearly, is what they arein succession, and inmostly, at, and forming, its very care, the very Divine "Truth Itself, of which it is the last expression. In the Letter of the Word, therefore, the Divine Truth communicated is in the very fullest embodiment it can ever know, or in its fullness. And being in its greatest fullness there, it there also attains its maximum Holiness and Power. It is hence plain, whence and where the Divinity of the Word is, and what Inspiration isthings which, on any other hypothesis, cannot be perceived at all, and which, for that very reason, are coming increasingly into doubt, and even into denial.

All this being so, we may now see the significance and force of the following summary can the subject given in those Writings in which its Internal Sense is now revealed:



The Word in its Origin is the Divine Truth Itself, eternally existing and in time proceeding from the Lord; which, in its descent to man on earth, has passed through the heavens in order, in their degreeswhich are three. It exists, therefore, in ever heaven,1 in a form accommodated to the wisdom and intelligence of the angels there, and lastly is sent down by God through the heavens to the world, where it exists in a form and manner accommodated to mans apprehension and capacity. This, therefore, is the sense of its Letter; in which the Divine Truth lies deposited, in distinct order, such as it is in the three heavens. A consequence of this is that all the wisdom of the angels who are in the three heavens, is inwardly deposited by God in our Word; and, in the inmost finite degree, is the wisdom of the angels of the third heaven, which is incomprehensible and ineffable to man, because full of the secret things and treasures of the Divine Verities. These lie stored up in each and all things of our Word. And whereas Divine Truth is THE LORD in the heavens, therefore, also, the Lord Himself is present in it, and may be said to dwell in each and all things of His Word as He dwells in His heavens.2

1 In agreement with the express declaration of the psalmist: For ever, O Lord, thy Word is settled in THE HEAVENS (cxix. 89)note the plural; which is according to the Hebrew.

2 Swedenborgs Apocalypse Explained, n. 1072.

It is manifest, therefore, in the view of it here presented that no other book in the world is, in any respect, comparable with THE WORLD OF THE LORD.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 295 Its Divinity Majesty is unique, and unapproachable by any other composition whatever; as, surely, we might know, beforehand, would certainly be the cam, with any veritable Word of God.

We are, next, to inquire into the problem of the mode, or method, of Inspiration--as regards how it acted upon, and produced its effects by means of, the inspired inert through whom it was written.

At this juncture, it will be useful, and is even necessary, to draw attention to, and emphasize, the truth that the men were inspired solely for the giving of the Word--all we have learned proclaims this-and, thus, when engaged in giving it, and NOT AT OTHER TIMES. "Inspiration," in other words, is not an attribute of the person, attaching to him at alt times, but exclusively an adjunct of the function of giving the Word, pertaining to the inspired writer only when engaged in that function.

This warning given, our present business is with what may be called the psychology of Inspiration what were the states, so far as can be known, spiritual, mental and physical, of the inspired penmen of the Word--historians, evangelists, psalmist prophetswhen engaged in that work.

It seems clear, at the outset, that, for the moat part at all events, the writers in question had no idea of their own inspiration. Everything points to the conclusion that they wrote what they wrote under the impression that it was they, and they alone, who were composing the history, or biography, or narrative, or record of vision, or prediction, and that they wrote as historians, or chroniclers, biographers, narrators, recorders or diarists, pure and simple.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 296 We have seen in a previous chapter1 that the career of the Israelitish people and the events recorded in the Gospel narrative were over-ruled by the Divine Providence so as to be representative of the spiritual and Divine Truths that God purposed to embody in His Word when it came to be written. The actual pacts, therefore, of the Old Testament and New Testament histories, which constitute the material of the Literal Sense of the Word, had already happened, and thus were ready to hand, before the writers of the Word set to work, and capable of being recorded, and recorded accurately, by any one acquainted with theirs and possessed of the requisite literary skill. There would seem to have been, as a rule, some one who held the position (if official chronicler, or annalist, who would have every opportunity of obtaining an accurate knowledge of the facts and would be possessed of the requisite literary qualifications for accurately recording them. Had an accurate and reliable history been all that was required, nothing more than this would have been needed; there would have been no necessity for "inspiration."


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 297 We have learned, however, that in accurate and reliable history was not all that was, required; but a history--where history was the "outer force"--which should relate, exactly those facts, arranged in precisely that force and order, and set forth in just, those words, which should represent the Divine Truths God intended to communicate in its "Spirit," or spiritual sense. And, for this, "inspiration" was indispensable; only Divine inspiration can be conceived as competent for such an achievement.

By the aid of the doctrine set forth at the beginning of the present chapter, there is little if any difficulty in seeing how the inspiration operated. When the writer was engaged in the performance of his duties and producing what, all unawares to himself, was to be the ultimate form of the Divine Word, the Divine Truth which God purposed that the portion of the history (or other kind of record) being then written should enshrine, proceeding from the Mind of God through the different heavens in succession in the manner shown above, was Divinely directed into the mental activities of the historian, and shaped the history, directed the marshalling of the facts to be used and the inadvertent (or even purposed) dropping out of those that would not serve the purposes of the inspired, Divine Truth, and secretly governed the selection of the very words in which the facts and ideas were to be expressed.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 298 Thus was the Divine Truth in its successive heavenly accommodations, which is the real Revelation, the actual Word, inspired into the worldly history, narrative, biography, poem, psalm, which alone the writer was consciously composing, causing it to contain within it Divine Truth, celestial, spiritual and heavenly-naturalas so many successive internal sensesand so to be the literal sense of THE DIVINE WORD. The inspiration of the word, therefore, actually consists in its outer form, or Letter, containing within it successive internal senses, right back to the Inmost of all, which is the Divine Truth Itself in the Mind of God; which we have, in previous chapters, seen to be the character of the Sacred Scriptures we possess.

Swedenborgs own experience as the medium of a non-parabolic Divine Revelation, enabled him to tell us that the Divine inspiration, or the inspired Divine Truth, was directed into the mind of the writer whose work was to be inspired with it, by means of an angel of the lowest heaven, and explains how it is done. He says:

The angel who inspires the words into a prophet, or into those who speak the things inspiredas here1 into Mosesis only in spiritual things, and thus acts into the mind of him who is inspired. He thus calls forth the thought, by means of which the things inspired fall into words in the customary manner. The words are such as are in the inspired person, thus according to his apprehension, and according to the form in which they are fixed in him [i. e. according to his usual mode of expression].


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 299 This is the reason that the style of the inspired writers is so diverse: every one according to the analytic form previously induced upon him. But this I can sacredly declare: that there is not the least of a word, nor a jot, that is not inspired: but it is varied a little according to the gift of him who sets it forth,--but still in such a way that, even then, there is not a jot that it is not inspired. In this way, also, were inspired the songs contained in the Books of Moses, of Judges, in the Psalms that David sang, and in the Prophets (Adversaria, iii. 6965).

It will not be expected by any reasonable person that all the literature, whether historical, poetic, or prophetic, of the Jewish nation was thus inspired, or even, necessarily, all that was written by the same man; but only such of it as was used by God for embodying those internal senses which all God-inspired Scripture carries in its bosom by virtue of its inspiration. But, on this point, more in our next chapter.

From what has just been presented we see what was the modus operandi of the inspiration of the inspired historian, psalmist, prophet, parabolist or biographer; and it will be noted that, although the very words used were given to the writer, flowing down his pen as it were, they were not dictated. The method of this form of inspirationinspiration in the strictest sense of the termis thus not dictation but influx, or inaudible, insensible and unconscious flowing in.



But wherever it is said, Jehovah, or the Lord, or God, spake, or, the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, or any equivalent expression, which is the case only with the prophets,1 there was DICTATION, in an audible voiceconcerning which later.2 The case of the prophets is more complex than that of the other inspired writers; for, while the recorder of worldly history was in the ordinary state of a man in the world, what we may call a natural state, or the state of the body, the prophets experienced two states; a state of the body, in which they were, in common with the other inspired writers, when writing the Word given through them, and a state of the spiritspoken of as being in the spirit3in which they saw their visions, and underwent their more extraordinary experiences, in general.

1 This, of course, includes Moses; who was prophet as well as historian. Those writers who are commonly classed as prophets, simply, may, on the other hand, be said to be historians as well as prophets.

2 pages 302 and 303, below.

3 See Rev. i. 10; iv. 2; xvii. 3; xxi. 10. For similar expressions in the Old Testament, see Ezek. Ii. 2; iii. 12, 24; xi. 1, 24; xi. 2; Zech. i. 8; vi. 1, etc.; Dan. Vii. 1, 2, 7, 13; viii. 2; ix. 21; x. 1, 7, 8; 2 Kings vi. 17. The same state is implied, as a general thing, wherever, in the prophetic Books, the writer says I saw.

It is habitually said of the prophets that they were in the spirit, or in vision; also, that the Word came to them from Jehovah. When they were in the spirit, or in vision, they were not in the body, but in their sprit, in which state they saw such things as are in the spiritual world; but when the Word came to them, they were in the body and heard Jehovah speak.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 301 These two states of the prophets are to be carefully distinguished. In the state of vision, the eyes of their spirit were opened, and the eyes of their body closed; and then they heard what the angels spoke, or what Jehovah spoke through angels, and saw the things that were represented to them in heaven; then, also, they sometimes seemed to themselves to be carried from one place to another. When the sight of a mans spirit is opened, the things that are in the spiritual world are seen by the bodily sight. The disciples were in this state when they saw the Lord after His Resurrection; wherefore it is said that their eyes were opened (Luke xxiv. 30, 31). Abraham was in a similar state when he saw and conversed with the three angels (Gen. xviii.). so were Hagar, Gideon, Manoah, Joshua and others when they saw the angel of Jehovah, and also the servant of Elisha when he saw the mountain full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha; for Elisha prayed, and said, O Jehovah, I pray Thee, open his eyes that he may see; and Jehovah opened the eyes of the young man and he saw, etc. (2 Kings vi. 17).Apocalypse Revealed, no. 36.

That it was not the eyes of this servants body that were opened, but the eyes of his spirit, is evident form the fact that the eyes of his body were already open; for he saw the Syrian army with them, investing the city. And the things he saw when his eyes were opened were actual objects in the spiritual world, there, to be seen by anyone in whom the requisite eyes for seeing them were opened, and seen by Elisha previously, as is proved by the fact that Elisha knew that the young man would see them, granted only the opening of his eyes.



But, as respecting the Word, it was not revealed in a state of the spirit, or in vision, but was dictated by the Lord in a living voice to the prophets (ibid.).

One thing to be noted, here, is that the prophets heard Jehovah speak both when they were in the spirit and when they were in the body; but they only wrote the Word when in the state of the body, and consequently were in the state of the body when writing those portions of their Books that were dictated to them by Jehovah. These portions came to them by Divine dictation, not by influx: the remaining portions came by influx, not by dictation; but when actually writing both portions, they were in the body and not in the spirit.

In one part of the above statement, the expression occurs, what Jehovah spoke through the angels. It is obviously not possible for the Infinite God, in His own proper Person, to speak directly into the ear of a man in the world: this would not, indeed, be possible in the case of the highest angel. Hence, the true state of affairs is accurately expressed in the phrase what Jehovah spoke through the angels.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 303 The way in which God spoke through an angel was by filling the personality of an angel with His Spirit in such completeness, and to such a degree as to suspend, for the time being, the separate consciousness of the angel, and make his personality a mere organ through which the Divine Influx could, by using the thought-forms of the angels mind, direct them by influx into the mind and memory, and thenceclothed in words there obtainedinto the bodily auditory apparatus of the prophet, by an inward way, so that the words were heard by him just as though they had been spoken by a person outside his body in the worldeither invisible to him or even visible. In the case of Balaam, words which so reached his bodily ear from the spiritual world by an internal way, were heard by him as if proceeding from the mouth of the ass he was riding; and the story is related according to the appearance to Balaam, and as Balaam would certainly have related it if telling it himself.

Many of the things which the prophets heard when in the spirit are related in their Books. In these cases, as in all the others, they were in the body when writing, reproducing as from memory, but under the inspiration explained above, the things they had heard when in the spirit.

Moses was in the spirit when he saw the patterns of the things in the heavens which God showed him in the mount,1 and when he held conversations with God:2


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 304 but when giving to the people the commandments God had directed him to give to them, and when he was recording all in the Books he wrote, he was no longer in the spirit but in the body.

1 All the representatives instituted with the Israelitish nation were like those that exist in the lowest heaven, but were less perfect because they were in the nature of this world. Such were the Tabernacle with the ark, the table upon which was the showbread, the lampstand and its lamps, the altar of incense, the garments of Aaron and his sons, and, afterwards, the Temple, with the holy of holies there, containing the ark upon which were the mercy-seat and the cherubim, also the brazen sea, the lavers, and the rest. It was from this lowest heaven that the things to be instituted with the Israelitish nation were shown by the Lord to Moses on mount Sinai (see Exod. Xxv. 40; xxvi. 30; xxvii. 8). But these things were not seen by Moses with the eyes of his body, but with the eyes of his spirit (Arcana Coelestia, no. 10276).

2 Through the personality, of course, of the angel of the Lord. See pp. 302-3, just above.

It is to be noted, also, that the Lord could just as readily fill evil spirits with His Spirit for the purpose of getting needed external thought-forms which only an evil mind could furnish. In this case, the thought-forms would be evil, and the resultant literal sense in that place would be something wicked; but by virtue of its divine inspiration it would equally contain within, in the Internal Sense, Divine Truth, and Divine Truth only. This is the true explanation of all those cases in which it is said that the Lord enjoined the commission of natural evils: as, that Abraham should offer up Isaac; that the Israelites should plunder the Egyptians and exterminate the Canaanites; that Hosea should take an adulteress to wife; and others of a like evil and immoral characterthe evil spirit, in such cases, inspiring an irrestible persuasion that he was God, and consequently that what he instilled was commanded by God; which secured its being carried into effect as of Divine command, and its being afterwards recorded as such in the Word.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 305 These parts of the Word are just as truly Divinely inspired, and heavenly and Divine in their internal contents, as the purest and most morally lofty portions: their evil external form is owing to evil spirits, or evil men being permitted to furnish the ultimate thought-forms required for the Letter. And now that the Internal Sense of the Word in those places is made known, the Divine Truth enshrined in these repulsive parts of the Letter is brought to light for those who receive that Sense; and those parts are seen to be as Divine, as much the infallible and holy word of God, as the rest.

After what has been shown in this chapter of the real nature, mode and conditions of the inspiration of the Word, it will be seen, as soon as stated that inspiration of the kind by which the Letter of the Word was given, implies nothing whatever as to the spiritual or moral quality of the inspired person. That an evil man can be inspired is manifest from the case of Balaam, through whose mouth, avowedly, came the greater part of the very words of Num. xxiii. and xxiv. Nor does this kind of inspiration necessarily carry with it any understanding whatever of the Internal Sense of what is inspired, or any knowledge, or belief, that any such sense is contained, or any sense beyond the bare Letter.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 306 A matter of fact, it is very evident that the writers of the Letter of the word knew nothing whatever of any other sense of what they wrote than the merely literal one.

From this it is clear how woefully astray those are who tell us that what is necessary to the true understanding of the word is that we should get at the meaning of the writers! The Word of God can never be arrived at in such a way. GOD gave the Word, not the men who wrote the words of its Letter; and a true understanding of it can only be attained by getting at the DIVINE TRUTH, which was originally inspired into the Letter, and perpetually inspires it, thereby making it the Letter of THE WORD, instead of a mere human composition and worldly history, which could not possibly carry any spiritual or heavenly, much less any Divine content.

Knowing, now, what the inspiration of the Word truly is, we can understand something of the spiritual benefit and help which the habitual devout reading of it is known by experience to carry with it; so that we rise from its perusal inspired with holy resolve, and armed with strength from above, for meeting the temptations of daily life without succumbing to them. The explanation is that, by reason of its being inspired with its Internal Senses, the angels of the different heavens who are unconsciously associated with our spirits that they may minister unto us in our capacity as heirs of salvation (see Heb. i. 14), while we are reading the Word in the Letter, perceive with delight the blessed truths of the Sense that exists in their heaven, and are inspired by that means to a yet fuller realization in themselves of heavenly aspiration, attainment and life.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 307 And this heavenly delight and joy of the angels is directed back into our souls, and forms the unseen and uncomprehended, but unmistakably experienced spiritual and heavenly impulse and inspiration which the true Christian is conscious of deriving from the devout, prayerful reading of the Word as from the reading of no other book in the world. The secret is that, by virtue of its Divine inspiration, the Word has stored up within it the wisdom and love of all the heavens, and inmostly the Lord Himself.






17.The Canon; or, the Books of Divine Authorship.

IN our fourth chapter, above,1 it was pointed out that only some of the Books bound up together in the volume we call The Bible, explicitly proclaim themselves to be the Word of God; and it was stated that the arguments and claims advanced in this work are made on behalf only of those Books that are this, and not of any others. We also deferred the further consideration of the question thus raised, the question of the canon, to the present chapter.

1 See pp. 65-66.

The Books which, for various reasons (to be now gone into), are not to be regarded as the Word of God strictly so called, that is, in the sense of being of unequivocal Divine Authorship, were indicated at the close of the chapter referred to above; and it was left to the reader to deduce for himself, if so disposed, the names of those that are. But as it is necessary for our present purpose to have them fully before us, they must now be specifically set forth. They are as follow:




                     Old Testament
Genesis                            Psalms                     Obadiah
Exodus                            Isaiah                     Jonah
Leviticus                            Jeremiah                     Micah
Numbers                            Lamentations              Nahum
Deuteronomy                            Ezekiel                     Habakkuk
Joshua                            Daniel                     Zephanian
Judges                            Hosea                            Haggai
1st and 2nd Samuel              Joel                            Zecharia
1st and 2nd Kings                     Amos                            Malachi.

                     New Testament
The Four Gospels; and the Book of the Revelation.

As to the form, validity and scope of this claim in the several Books concerned, we must refer the reader on the present occasion to the Books themselves. In this place, we adduce the following statement from one of those works in which the Spiritual Sense of the Word has been disclosed, which deals with this very subject:

The Books of the Word are all those which have the Internal Sense; those, however, which have it not, are not the Word. The Books of the Word in the Old Testament, are: the five Books of Moses, the Book of Joshua, the Book of the Judges, the two Books of Samuel, the two Books of the Kings, the Psalms of David, the Prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi; and, in the New Testament, the four EvangelistsMatthew, Mark, Luke and Johnand the Apocalypse.1

1 Swedenborgs Arcana Coelestia, no. 10325.



Comparison will show that this list coincides entirely, as regards the names of the Books, with the one given above: the two, in fact, have only one point of differencethe ground on which the lists rest. Whereas the former rests, as here set down, upon the claims made by the Books, or some of their contents, to being given by God, Swedenborgs rests upon the fact of the Books containing the Internal Sense,--a characteristic abundantly established, as we believe, in this work, as inseparable from verbally inspired Scripture. We find, therefore, that the claims of the Books, and their character in relation to this inseparable mark of any Book of truly Divine Authorship in the strict sense of that world, combine in testifying that the Books named, and those only, are the Books of the Word properly so called.

This position, of course, brings us into collision with accepted opinion on the subject; which, as is well known, is, that all the Books constituting the Authorized English Version of the Bible are on precisely the same footing in this regard, and thus are all equally the Divine Word. Many persons, too, imagine that Divinity is predicable of the collection of Books, and that there is a Divine sanction, or authority, for their being bound together in one volume, or belonging together in popular opinion, which it is sacrilege to call in question.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 311 It will be in the interests of the reader, therefore, for us to put the real situation before him.

To begin with, he should know that the canon, or the collection of Books esteemed as possessing whatever Divine sanction attaches to any Scriptures, has not always been what it is now, as respects either Old or New Testaments. He should know, indeed, that the canon at the present day, is not the same throughout Christendom. The Roman Catholic canon, resting on the authority of the Council of Trent (A. D. 1546), includes, in addition to all the Books in our English Bible, that collection of Jewish writings called the Apocrypha, with the exception of the 3rd and 4th Books of Esdras, 3rd of Maccabees and The Prayer of Manasses. The Books of our ordinary English Bibles constitute the generally recognized Protestant canonwhich differs, to the extent indicated above, from the Roman Catholic. But, again, the strict Lutheran canon, at one time at all events, whether at the present day or not, differed from the general Protestant canon, by excluding the Epistle of James in the New Testament, which Luther utterly scouted as a right strawy epistle. And the Romish Church denounces the Protestant restriction of the canon, amounting as it does to the rejection of many Books that Rome accepts, as heresy and sacrilege; and, if ancient acceptance is to be the standard, it is difficult to see how the denunciation is to be evaded.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 312 For the Roman Catholic canon of today is identical with the old Vulgate canon which goes back to the beginning of the third century.

In this dilemma, which canon, the Romish or the protestant, are we to accept? The one that appears to have behind it the authority of an antiquity long ante-dating the distinction between Protestant and Catholicand which ought, therefore, rather to be called the early Christian canonor, the one that excludes so many books that had been accepted in Christendom with practical unanimity for more than a thousand years before the Reformers appeared on the scene? Much depends, of course, upon the grounds on which the Reformers based their rejection of the Books they regarded as disqualified for inclusion.

In this work the pioneer was Luther; and a glance at his methods and results will throw some probably unexpected light on the subject.

He rejected the whole of the Apocrypha of the Old Testament, partly on the ground that the books constituting it were not originally written in Hebrew, and partly on the internal evidence of their tone and character, from the religious point of view. On similar grounds,

he considered that the Book of Esther ought to be excluded. He also thought (as, of course, many before him had thought and many to this day still think) that the Epistle to the Hebrews was neither Pauls nor any other Apostles, though it might have proceeded from some excellent and learned man who may have been a disciple of Apostles; but he did not put it on a level with the Epistles written by the Apostles themselves.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 313 The Book of Revelation he regarded as neither Apostolic nor prophetic, but put it almost on the same level with the 4th book of Esdras, which he elsewhere spoke of tossing into the Eibe! This judgment of the Book of Revelation was afterwards modified, but not retracted. Jamess Epistle he pronounced un-Apostolic: it was quite an epistle of straw. In like manner, he did not consider that Judes Epistle proceeded from an Apostle. Considering it to have been taken from 2 Peter, and not well extracted either (!), he put it lower than its supposed original. He, as also his successors, made a distinction between the Books of the New Testament similar to that between those of the Oldthe generally received and the controverted Hebrews, Jude, James and the Apocalypse belonged, according to them, to the controverted       He did not regard the Bible and the Word of God as identical; the Word of God had a deeper and wider sense than the Bible Zwingli pronounced the apocalypse to be not a Biblical Book.1

1 Extrancted from article Canon in The Encyclopedia Britannica.

Now, whatever may be thought of the great Reformers doings in this department, or of the grounds of his decisions, none of those who accept his conclusions to the extent of adopting the Protestant canon in preference to the Christian canon of the first quarter of the 3rd century, adopted by Roman Catholic Christendom, can regard the calling in question of the canonicity, or even the rejection, of some of the Books that he retained, as meriting condemnation, without a hearing of the grounds on which such challenge and rejection rest.



This conclusion is strongly fortified by a glance at the history of the canon in the Christian Church.

It is important to notice, at the outset, that when the Books constituting the New Testament were first promulgated, and for nearly a hundred years afterwards, they were not regarded in any quarter as in any sense whatever the Word of God, or as ranking along with the Books of the Old Testament in that regard; nor was there any idea that any addition to the existing divine Word was either probable, necessary or desirable. That was an idea that had to gather gradually about these Books after they came into existence, and, after assuming form, to become defined, and slowly grow into a generally accepted principle (see Westcotts The Bible in the Church, pp. 61, 62). It cannot be denied, says this authority, that the idea of a New Testament consisting of definite books, and equal in authority with the Old, was foreign to the sub-Apostolic Age (ibid., p. 86).

In a word, there is no evidence whatever that the New Testament Books, for a very long time, though accepted in the Church for use in its public religious exercises, were regarded as the Word of God, or as a New Testament complementing the Old. To Justin Martyr (A. D. 140-17) for example, the Old Testament was a complete Bible, historically and doctrinally (ibid., p. 107).



The first attempt at the formation of a Christian Bible was made by Marcion, a heretic (A. D. 120-170), and was a strictly individual matter, having no authority whatever, and not even regarded as having any (ibid., pp. 109, 110).

And after Christian Scriptures came to be generally acknowledged, there was, for centuries, a wide and universal difference of opinion in all sections of both Eastern and Western Churches, as to which Books in both Testaments were canonical and which were not. This, however, was a conflict of scholars merely; the practice of the Church was virtually unanimous in accepting all the Books in the Old Vulgate, referred to above, as Scripture, and all on the same footing. But there was still no authoritative ecclesiastical decision, or pronouncement, on the subject, until the Council of Trent (A. D. 1546); and that pronouncement was a mere endorsement, absolutely ex cathedra, of the canon which had, as it were, blindly grown into acceptance, by usage, in the course of the centuries (ibid., pp. 255-7). Usage, and not criticism fixed the limits of the Christian Bible. Still, however we call it, the discriminating power was seen in usage and not in law; and this is distinctly recognized by the earliest writers who treat in detail on the New Testament Canon (ibid., pp. 293-4).



It will thus be seen that the canon of the Council of Trent, which is that of the Roman Catholic Church at this day, represents the gradually built-up usage of the Church. That of our Authorized Version, on the other hand, which is practically that of Protestant Christendom, represents the preponderance of scholarly opinion down the Christian ages.

But the one clear and certain fact that emerges from a study of the intricate and complicated history of the canon, is, that not one of the accepted canons carries with it the smallest vestige or semblance of the weight upon the consciences or allegiance of Christians. The question of the canon is, therefore, one that may be freely raised and discussed without any fear, on the part of the devout Christian, of impugning anything that is a matter of Divine authority.

In the case of the canon here proposed, the exclusions rest upon a totally new standard of what constitutes the Word of God. It is no longer a question of the human writer, whether an Apostle or not an Apostle. It is no longer a question of antiquity, either in the book itself or in its acceptancethus, of usage or tradition. It is no longer a question of the opinions of men, whether scholars or ecclesiastics, or the decisions of Councils.

For the first time in history, a definite, clear and rational principle, well established by a vast and weighty body of Scripture evidence, is advanced for the settlement of the vexed question; and it is this: The Books of the Word are all those that have the Internal Sense: the books that have it not, are not the Word.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 317 And no one who has gone with us thus far, and accepts, if only provisionally, the doctrine of Inspiration propounded in the preceding chapter, can hesitate, for a moment, to accept the principle. The only question is as to which Books have the Internal Sense, and which have not. And where else shall the answer to this question be sought, than in those works in which that Sense is disclosed?

The indubitable proof that those Books here stated to be Books of the Word, have the Internal Sense, is found in the fact that the Internal Sense of these Books is given in the works just referred to. The proof that the books said to be not books of the Word have not the Internal Sense lies in the fact that the works which disclose the Internal Sense of THE WORD, i. e. the whole wordgives no Internal Sense for those books. Furthermore, the works in which the Lord who gave the Word has revealed its Internal Sense, authoritatively declare that the Books that have the Internal Sense are the ones only that are enumerated: thus, by inevitable implication, that those not enumerated have it not. The canon here presented, therefore, rests upon the intrinsic nature of the the Word, now for the first time known, and upon the explicit authority of a Divine Revelationthe Divine Revelation in which its Internal Sense is given.



But there is independent corroboration at hand, also. Take, first, the Books of the New Testament. The Lord Himself has taught us that His wordsin that they are spirit and life, and, in that their flesh, or Letter, is not where their true profit, consequently their real meaning, resides, but their spirit, or Internal Sense (John vi. 63)possess the characteristic which the principle before our minds makes the distinguishing mark of the Books of the Word. Is it not clear, then, that the Books that contain His words, that are, indeed, to a large extent, made up of the very words that fell from His lips when in the world and after He had departed from the world, must, in virtue of that fact, contain that Internal Sense which, and which alone, can constitute any Book a Book of the Word? Evidently so. And which Books are those? The very Books mentioned in the above list:--the four Gospels and the Book of RevelationAND NO OTHERS. The Acts of the Apostles, as the name implies, is simply a historical record of the doings of the Apostles in the great work on which the Lord had sent them forth, of preaching the Gospel which He Himself had taught them to that end, and thus inaugurating the Christian Church. As such, the book is priceless; but there is noting in its character, or in its contents, to suggest that it is the product of the Divine inspiration, and no sign that it possess the indispensable Internal Sense. No one, we suppose, would content that it does.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 319 Therefore, according to the principle, historically and ecclesiastically valuable heritage of the Christian Church though it be, it is not a book of the Word.

The Epistles, again, are excellent books of doctrine, exhortation and admonitionof incalculable service to the Christian growth and development of the service to the Christian growth and development of the converts from heathenism to Christianity to whom they were in the first instance addressed, and also to us now, and to our successors in time to comebut not on that account the word of GOD, even though written by Apostlesand assuredly not containing the indispensable Internal Sense. In them, the flesh, that is the literal sense, profiteth everything; for they contain no other. Therefore, they are not the Lords words: consequently, not practical writings, demanding, as such, a plain non-parabolic styleor, what is the same thing, a style not containing, or conveying any internal sense.

Turn, now, to the Old Testament. For any semblance of authority for the true canon of the Old Testament Scriptures, we must go to the Jews, among whom those Scriptures were given, and with whom they grew up. Now, the Palestinian, or purely Jewish, canon, never recognized the books of the Apocrypha as Divine Scriptures, properly speaking, at all. They were, and are, valued as Jewish history and literature, and mainly as history; but nothing more.



It is solely through the Alexandrian canon, as exemplified in the Septuagint version, that they ever came to be thought of as Scripture at all.

For the rest, the Hebrew canon recognized three classes of Books: (1) The Law; (2) the Prophets; and (3) the Hagiographa, or sacred writings; and the first two classes together were (and are) distinguished by them as pre-eminently the word: the books of the third class, were esteemed as simply what the name impliessacred, or religious writings, but not the word proper.

As to the contents of these three categories: (1) The Law consisted of the 5 books of Moses. (2) The Prophets included: Joshua, Judges, 1st and 2nd Samuel, 1st and 2nd Kings, called, collectively, the former (or earlier) Prophets, and all the prophetic books according to our definition, with the exceptions of Lamentations and Daniel,--and, earlier, it had included Lamentations as the concluding part of Jeremiah. This latter group was called the later Prophets. (3) the Hagiographa comprised: Psalms, Ruth, 1st and 2nd Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Lamentations, Daniel.

If these lists be compared with those given at the outset of the present chapter, the two classes together constituting the word, i. e. the Law and the Prophets, will be seen to coincide with the books of the Word in our list except in the respect that the latter includes the Psalms, Lamentations and Daniel, which the Jewish canon relegates to the Hagiographa, and thus esteems as not belonging, properly, of the Word.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 321 There are no other differences between the two lists. As regards the agreements, the Jewish canon may be regarded as confirming the one set out in this chapter.

But what about the differences? Is the most ancient canon right, or the most recent? As regards the Psalms and Daniel, they are expressly classed, by Our Lord Himself, as the word of God. The Psalms, most explicitly, in His saying, all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and the prophets and the PSALMS concerning me (Luke xxiv. 44); according to which the Psalms contained Divine propheciesfor their character as prophecies surely destined for fulfillment, certainly establishes them as DIVINEand must, therefore, have been part of the Divine Word. It is true that it is customary among writers on the canon to claim that the term Psalms in this passage really designates THE WHOLE Hagiographa, in which it occupies the first place; on the alleged ground that it was a Jewish usage to refer to groups of books by the name of the first book in the group. On this claim it need only be said that no proof of the existence of any such usage has ever been adduced; and really, to adopt the words of the Rev. Samuel Noble, in his Plenary Inspiration of the Scriptures Asserted (Appendix II, pp. xiv, xv), this is a pure figment, invented by the schools to support the credit of books, the true nature of which they did not know how to estimate, and which they saw, unless they could thus be tacked on to the Psalms, must be confessed to be destitute of any Divine authority for being accepted as Divine Scripture.



More conclusive still, however, is this, in John x. 34, 35: Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are Gods? If he called them gods to whom the Word of God came, and the Scripture cannot be broken, etc. The Book containing the quoted words, and to which the Lord here refers as the Word of God, and as Scripture which cannot be broken, is the Book of Psalms (lxxxii. 6)! We have the Lords authority, therefore, for the position that the Jews were in error in relegating the Book of Psalms to any lower rank than the Word.

The same Divine Authority expressly speaks of Daniel, the prophet in Matt. Xxiv. 15, one of whose prophecies He at the same time indicated as certain to be fulfilled; which circumstance sufficiently establishes the Book in question as Divine. The proper place for the Book of Daniel, therefore, is in the second category, the Prophets, and thus among the Books of the Word.

The circumstance, lastly, that Lamentations was formerlyand properly when the Lord was in the worldunited to Jeremiah as one book with it, would bring it within the Lords comprehensive acceptance, and thus endorsement, of the collection of Scriptures known to the Jews of His day as the Word, and thus establish it, also, as a Book of the Word.


CRITERION OF DIVINE AUTHORSHIP p. 323 Its style moreover, which, in chapters 1, 2 and 4, is unmistakably the prophetic, not differing at all from that of Jeremiah itself, and, in chapters 3 and 5, is similar to that of the Psalms, is an additional confirmation of its right to rank as a Book of the Word.

We have now reached the end of our investigation of this long-vexed, and never previously settled, question of the canon: and it may be confidently claimed that, altogether apart from the fact that the new canon here put forth comes with the authority of Divine revelation, there is more to be said for it, on every ground, as placing the question of what Books are entitled to the pre-eminent dignity of constituting the Divinely inspired Word of God on a satisfactory philosophical, rational, historical and Scriptural basis than for any other now in existence, or known to history.

Our task is ended. The aim with which we set out, and which we have kept steadily in view all along, has been to place those who are willing to receive it, in possession of a new conception of the nature of the Divine Word, which sets everything in it in an entirely new light, and makes it invulnerable to the shafts of the destructive criticism so much and so increasingly in favor at this day, even among those calling themselves Christians; to give some idea of the SPIRITUAL SENSE OF THE WORD now revealed, which transforms its whole aspect and its every feature, and irradiates, with manifest spiritual and Divine Truth, even the darkest and the revolting places of its Letter; and so to assist those who are willing to be assisted, to the attainment of a firm, rational and not less spiritual faith in the Word of God, as the Lords spiritual presence on earth, with which no other books in the world is for a moment comparable.